July 11, 2018 / 11:48 AM / a year ago

Suspect in France bomb plot could be extradited to Belgium: German prosecutor

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s federal prosecutor on Wednesday remanded in custody an Iranian diplomat suspected of having been involved in a plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in France but said the suspect could still be extradited to Belgium.

Belgium is already investigating two Belgians of Iranian origin arrested earlier this month for plotting an explosive attack on the annual “Great Assembly” of Iranian opposition exiles last month on the outskirts of Paris.

In a statement, the German federal prosecutor said the Austria-based Iranian diplomat is suspected of commissioning a couple living in Antwerp to carry out the attack and providing them with a detonation device and homemade explosive TATP.

Iran has said it had nothing to do with the bomb plot, which it called a “false flag” operation staged by figures within the opposition group itself.

The suspect, identified only as Assadollah A. under German legal rules, was accredited as a 3rd counselor at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna since 2014 and was an employee of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), the statement said.

“The tasks of the ‘MOIS’ are primarily the intensive observation of and fight against opposition groups inside and outside of Iran,” it said.

The statement said German authorities arrested the 46-year-old diplomat earlier this month in the Bavarian city of Aschaffenburg under a European arrest warrant.

It said the German Federal Court of Justice issued another arrest warrant against the diplomat on Monday for suspected spying and plotting murder.

The local investigation and the warrant, however, did not preclude the requested extradition of the suspect to Belgian law enforcement authorities, it added.

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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