06:22 GMT09 April 2020
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    TEHRAN (Sputnik) - The Iranian Foreign Ministry has lodged a protest with France and Germany over the detention of its diplomat as part of the Belgian-led investigation into a foiled plot of a terrorist attack in the Paris outskirts of Villepinte, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Wednesday.

    "Deputy Foreign Minister [for Political Affairs] Abbas Araghchi lodged a protest with the French ambassador and the charge d'affaires of the German Embassy over the detention of the Iranian diplomat," Qassemi said.

    According to Qassemi, the two diplomats were summoned to the Iranian ministry.

    The French ambassador also faced a protest over the annual gathering of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MKO) in Paris, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Tehran and accused by the Iranian authorities of involvement in the whole story around the detained diplomat, with the aim to harm the country’s relations with Europe. MKO is part of the NCRI, whose gathering was supposed to be a target of the alleged terrorist plot.

    Qassemi added that the ministry had also summoned the Belgian ambassador and lodged a protest over Brussels’ request for Germany to extradite the Iranian diplomat to Belgium.

    The Iranian diplomat from the embassy in Vienna was arrested in Germany on Saturday on suspicion of complicity in plotting a bomb attack on a rally of an exiled Iranian opposition organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which was held in Villepinte the same day and attended by almost 25,000 people.

    He is one of four suspects of Iranian origin, one of whom has been detained in France, and two others in Belgium. Iran has strongly refuted the suspicions against its diplomat as groundless.

    Following the reports about the incident with the diplomat, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Tehran was ready to cooperate with all the involved parties on the issue to discover the truth behind what he called "a sinister false flag ploy."

    The situation around the Iranian diplomat comes amid Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s official visit to Vienna, where he held talks with Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen earlier on Wednesday.


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    protest, detention, diplomat, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Bahram Qassemi, France, Germany, Iran
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