Vienna - An Iranian diplomat was remanded in custody in Germany on Wednesday on charges of acting as a foreign agent and conspiracy to murder.
Assadollah Assadi, 46, a counsellor at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, has been accused of plotting to blow up a rally in Paris last month of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which called for regime change in Tehran.
Prosecutors said that Assadi commissioned a couple living in Antwerp to carry out the attack, and supplied them with 500 grams of the explosive TATP and a detonating device, at a meeting in Luxembourg in late June.
The couple, Amir S., 38, and Nasimeh N., 33, Belgian nationals of Iranian origin, were arrested in Brussels by Belgian security services on the day of the rally on June 30. French police arrested another three people, but later released two of them.
Assadi has been registered as a third counsellor at the Iranian embassy in Vienna since 2014. German prosecutors said he is a member of the Iranian intelligence service, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and his job is to spy on opposition groups inside and outside Iran.
He was detained this month near the Bavarian city of Aschaffenburg on a European arrest warrant. The charges against him in Germany did not preclude his extradition to Belgium, where authorities have been leading the investigation into the bomb plot, prosecutors said.
Last month’s rally calling for regime change in Iran was attended by about 25,000 people, including leading politicians from the US, Europe and the Middle East.
It was addressed by US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Iran has used embassies as cover to plot terrorist attacks, the US State Department said on Wednesday, and all countries should carefully examine staff at Iranian diplomatic missions.
“If Iran can plot bomb attacks in Paris, they can plot attacks anywhere in the world, and we urge all nations to be vigilant. The most recent plot ... is another chapter in a long history that dates back to 1984,” a senior official said.