France freezes funds of Iranian govt security section


PARIS: French authorities on Tuesday froze the assets of the interior security section of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry as well as those of two Iranians, one a diplomat who is a suspect in an alleged aborted bid to attack an Iranian exile group.
A joint statement by France’s interior, economy and foreign ministers made clear the move to freeze funds was linked to the allegedly aborted attempt to bomb the June 30 rally outside Paris by the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, or MEK.
The move was “preventative, targeted and proportionate,” the statement said. It noted France’s determination to fight terrorism, especially on French soil.
“This act of an extreme gravity envisioned on our territory could not go without a response,” it said.
One of the two Iranians identified in the announcement is Assadollah Asadi, a Vienna-based Iranian diplomat wanted in Belgium on suspicion he was part of the failed plot to bomb the MEK rally near Paris. He was apprehended in July near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after a couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car. A Germany court on Monday approved his extradition to Belgium.
The other Iranian identified in the statement is Saeid Hashemi Moghadam. His role in the plot was not immediately clear.
“We must dry up the channels of financing of terrorists to end their intolerable activities,” Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted as saying in the statement.
It did not give details of what funds might be in France.
Some French news reports linked the move to freeze the funds to a police raid Tuesday on a group called Centre Zahra France in the northern port city of Dunkirk. The information could not be immediately confirmed.