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Man arrested in France after bomb threat at Iran consulate

In News, World
April 19, 2024

French prosecutors say no explosives found on suspect or at the Iranian consular office in Paris.

French police have arrested a man who threatened to blow himself up at Iran’s embassy in Paris.

Police found no explosives at the embassy or on the suspect who was detained there on Friday, French prosecutors said, after the embassy’s consular office reported a man had entered with ammunition.

Police arrested the suspect, born in 1963 in Iran, when he exited of his own accord after appearing to have “threatened violent action” inside, the Agence France-Presse news agency quoted the Paris prosecutor’s office as saying.

But “no explosive materials have been observed at this stage,” either on him, in his car or in the building, prosecutors said.

A police source told the Reuters news agency the man was seen about 11am (09:00 GMT) entering the consular office, carrying what appeared to be a grenade and explosive vest. Police cordoned off the area.

The man later left the office and was then arrested, the police source said.

The TV channel BFM said he had been carrying replica grenades.

A police source said it was the same man who had been suspected of attempted arson near the Iranian embassy in an incident in September.

Le Parisien newspaper said on its website that, according to several witnesses, the man had dragged flags on the floor of the consulate and said he wanted to avenge the death of his brother.

An AFP journalist said the whole neighbourhood around the consulate in the capital’s 16th district had been closed off and a heavy police presence was in place.

Paris transport company RATP wrote on the social media platform X that traffic had been suspended on two metro lines that pass through stops close to the consulate.

Iran’s embassy and consulate in the French capital share the same building but have two different entrances on separate streets.

The incident came with tensions running high in the Middle East; however, there was no suggestion of any link.

Earlier on Friday, explosions echoed over the Iranian city of Isfahan in what sources described as an Israeli attack. Tehran played down the incident and indicated it had no plans for retaliation, a response that appeared aimed at averting a regional war.

Meanwhile, countries around the world and the United Nations have called for de-escalation as tensions in the region rise.

The United States embassy in Paris asked Americans to avoid the area around the Iranian embassy, following similar recommendations by French police.

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