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Iran summons 3 European envoys over diplomat held in Germany

Rouhani and FM Zarif at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce [Getty

Date of publication: 5 July, 2018

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Officials denied the diplomat's involvement in a bomb plot against the opposition MEK group, charging the group itself with orchestrating it.

Iran summoned envoys from France, Germany and Belgium over the case of an Iranian diplomat detained in Germany for allegedly attempting to bomb an opposition rally.

The state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Abbass Araghchi held separate meetings with the three diplomats in Tehran to express Iran's "strong protest" over the detention of Tehran's Vienna-based envoy, Assadollah Assadi.

Assadi was detained on Sunday near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European arrest warrant for suspected involvement in a plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Europe.

The rally on Saturday was attended by thousands of people and attracted several US politicians, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is now President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

Reviled by Tehran, the People's Mujahedeen (MEK) was founded in 1965 and has been banned in Iran since 1981.

Assadi's arrest came after a couple of Iranian origin was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding explosives in their car.

Araghchi called allegations against the diplomat a "plot aimed at damaging EU-Iran relations" ahead of a nuclear meeting on Friday.

The announcement of the arrests coincided with the start of a European tour by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani that began on Tuesday and included visits to Switzerland and Austria.

The tour, which aimed to seek guarantees from European powers over the 2015 nuclear deal after the US unilaterally pulled out in May, was overshadowed by news of the arrests. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was with Rouhani in Europe, said on Monday the foiled Villepinte attack was a "false flag ploy" to harm Iran and offered his country's help in investigating the matter.

Tehran has dismissed accusations it was behind the bomb plot. In a statement Wednesday, the foreign ministry said it was the MEK itself that was behind the "scenario".

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