Iran Wants France Talks to Clear 'Misunderstanding' Over Alleged Bomb Plot
Tehran called on Tuesday for talks with Paris to clear "misunderstanding" over an alleged bomb plot targeting an exiled opposition group near the French capital.
"If there is a misunderstanding... about a thing that does not exist, be it a conspiracy by others or a mistake, we can sit down and talk about it," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told AFP in an interview.
The only way to overcome the issue was through "the art of diplomacy," he said. "We know of no other way."
French authorities on Tuesday accused Iran's intelligence ministry of being behind a foiled plot to bomb a meeting of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), according to a French diplomatic source.
Tehran considers the MEK a "terrorist group".
"When the base issue is wrong and no more than an allegation, basing other hypotheses on such a claim is totally useless and wrong," Ghasemi said.
"You cannot accuse the intelligence ministry or anyone else working at it of being involved in an unconfirmed thing.
"Iran can definitely cooperate to fix any misunderstanding between France and Iran, or any other country in the region or Europe," said Ghasemi.
When the alleged bomb plot was foiled in late June, Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif called it "a sinister false flag ploy" in a July 2 tweet and said that Iran is ready to work with all concerned to uncover the truth.
Ghasemi echoed the same remarks on Tuesday, saying that "certain conspiracies" are in play meant to affect Iran's "positive relations with France and other European countries", rooted in the environment created by "the US policies regarding Iran (focusing) on sowing division between Iran, Europe" and regional neighbours.
"Some centres (of power) do not approve of Iran's good relations with Europe—that it is staying in the JCPOA and that its economic ties continue with the EU," he said, refering to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers.
This all started after the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May, he hinted.
"The French government, whom we have a long-standing and significant relationship with ... must be vigilant and do not allow such devious moves to affect Iran's good relations with France and other European countries," Ghasemi said.
The diplomat also described Iran's missile program as its right to "have an acceptable level of defensive capability" and "not a threat to others.”
This came just a day after the Islamic Republic launched six missiles at a jihadists' headquarters in Syria over a deadly attack on an Iranian military parade that killed 24 people, and renewed French comments expressing concerns about the country's missile program.
The strike targeted the town of Hajin, about 24 kilometres (15 miles) north of Albu Kamal near Syria's eastern border with Iraq.
Despite the developing missile program, "Iran's military spending is very low compared to our neighbors, like Saudi Arabia and the Emirates," Ghasemi added.
Photo Credit: IRNA