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White House hails French move against alleged Iranian bomb plot

President Donald J. Trump and Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, participate in their bilateral discussion Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at the Lotte New York Palace in New York. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The White House is applauding France’s move against alleged Iranian intelligence operatives who are accused of planning a bomb attack in Paris.

“France taking strong action against failed Iranian terrorist plot in Paris — Tehran needs to know this outrageous behavior will not be tolerated,” a tweet from the White House National Security Council said late on October 2.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters the incident illustrated the U.S. belief that Iran is “the world’s top sponsor of terrorism.”

French officials said on October 2 that they were freezing the assets of two suspected Iranian intelligence operatives over an alleged plot to bomb a rally in Paris three months ago.

The event was sponsored by the armed opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, which Tehran considers a terrorist group but which Western powers have removed from their blacklists.

Iran has denied it was planning such an attack.

The display of solidarity between Washington and Paris over the alleged bomb plot comes as France and the United States have taken opposite views of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which the United States abandoned in May but which France has vowed to uphold.

France and other European powers who signed the 2015 agreement along with Russia and China have refused to go along with Washington’s reimposition of sanctions on Iran and are trying to help Tehran keep its economy afloat despite the sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out the deal, which lifted most global sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities, in part because of Iran’s backing of powerful Shi’ite militias in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East — making Tehran what Washington considers the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism.