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Iran summons German envoy to protest extradition of diplomat in bomb plot case

Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Wolfgang Kumm/DPA/Abaca Press/TNS)

Iran has summoned the German ambassador in Tehran to protest the extradition of one of its diplomats to Belgium to face charges over his alleged role in a bomb plot.

“The German ambassador to Tehran was summoned today to protest against the extradition…of one of our diplomats to Belgium,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said in a statement on October 10.

The head of the ministry’s European desk called for the diplomat’s swift release and told the ambassador that the arrest and extradition were “caused by a fabricated conspiracy by enemies of Iran” who are aiming to sever Tehran’s ties with European powers, he said. He offered no evidence for the claim.

The Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, who had been based in Vienna, was taken into custody in Belgium earlier on October 10 on suspicion of involvement in an alleged plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally that took place near Paris in June.

Prosecutors have charged that the diplomat supplied a Belgian couple with explosives that were intended to be used to bomb the annual gathering of the exiled National Council of Resistance of Iran on June 30 in a suburb of Paris.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and other Trump allies were present at the rally.

Assadi was apprehended in July near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European arrest warrant alleging his involvement in the bomb plot after police stopped the Belgian couple with Iranian roots and reported finding powerful explosives in their car.

The bombing case comes at a particularly sensitive time as Iran has been working with France, Germany, and other European powers to salvage its 2015 nuclear deal, which was abandoned by the United States earlier this year.