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Germany Charges Iranian Diplomat Detained In Bomb Plot Against MEK Rally


France - President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) leader, Maryam Radjavi, speaks during a gathering "All against the misappropriation of Islam" in Saint-Denis, near Paris on August 3, 2013
BERLIN (AP)

An Iranian diplomat suspected of involvement in a bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally in France, was charged in Germany on Wednesday with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder.

Assadollah Assadi, a Vienna-based diplomat, is suspected of contracting a couple in Belgium to attack an annual meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in Villepinte, near Paris, German federal prosecutors said.

He allegedly gave the Antwerp-based couple a device containing 500 grams of the explosive TATP during a meeting in Luxembourg in late June, prosecutors said in a written statement.

Assadi was detained earlier this month near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after the couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car.

In their statement, German prosecutors allege that Assadi, who has been registered as a diplomat at the Iranian embassy in Vienna since 2014, was a member of the Iranian intelligence service "Ministry of Intelligence and Security," whose tasks "primarily include the intensive observation and combatting of opposition groups inside and outside of Iran."

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has called the allegations of a foiled extremist plot a ploy.

Belgian authorities also accuse Assadi of being part of an alleged plot to set off explosives at a rally of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq group, or MEK, in neighboring France, and want him extradited.

German prosecutors said their investigation would not hinder Belgium's extradition request for the suspect.

The MEK is an exiled Iranian opposition group based largely in Paris and Albania. The formerly armed group was removed from European Union and U.S. terrorism lists several years ago after denouncing violence and getting western politicians to lobby on its behalf.

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