France publicly linked Iran’s intelligence services to a foiled bomb plot that targeted a June meeting near Paris of an Iranian opposition group, and announced that it would freeze the assets of the Iranian spy ministry.
A plot of “such extreme seriousness on French territory could not be let go without a response,” France’s ministers of foreign affairs, interior and finance said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
“France has taken preventive, proportionate and targeted measures,” the ministers said. “In taking this decision France reiterates its determination to fight terrorism, especially on its own territory.”
The decision was particularly notable because it suggested that France, unlike the United States, believes that it is possible to punish Iran for hostile actions at the same time that it tries to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, which allowed the lifting of sanctions jointly applied by the European Union and the United States.
President Trump pulled out of the nuclear accord this year, pronouncing the Iranian government a rogue actor and the 2015 deal as wholly insufficient to rein in its ambitions, as well as doing nothing to halt its meddling and support of regional conflicts. In contrast, European countries are trying to find a way to avoid pulling out of the deal because they think doing so will worsen Iran’s relationship with the West.
At the same time, the decision to freeze the assets of the spy ministry seemed to be a clear sign France was angry that Iran appeared to be ignoring international norms and acting with impunity. It also indicated that, at least indirectly, France endorsed Mr. Trump’s judgment that Iran was a rogue regime.
Read more: NY Time
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