Man detained in France after bomb threat at Iran consulate

French prosecutors say no explosives found on suspect or at the consulate in Paris.

French police
French police secure the area near Iran's consulate in Paris, where a man threatened to blow himself up [Benoit Tessier/Reuters]

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

Police found no explosives at the consulate or on the suspect who was detained there on Friday, French prosecutors said, after the consulate 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 (AFP) news agency quoted the Paris prosecutor’s office as saying.

“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 consulate and carrying what appeared to be a grenade and explosive vest. Police cordoned off the area.

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

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

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.

The same suspect had been convicted for setting fire to the Iranian embassy gates last year in what he called a protest against the Iranian government, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The man was due to appear in court on Monday in relation to that fire, the prosecutor’s office told AFP.

A lower court had handed him an eight-month suspended sentence and prohibited him from entering the area around the consulate for two years and carrying weapons, but he is appealing the verdict.

Police cordon off the area near the Iranian consulate in Paris [Pierre Galan/@Gln_Pierre via Reuters]

In custody

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

The suspect is now in custody, and the prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into death threats.

It said investigators were trying to determine a motive.

Reports said the man had left Iran in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and has expressed sympathy towards Iran’s ousted monarchy.

Iranian authorities did not comment publicly on what happened.

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.

An AFP journalist who was on the scene said the whole neighbourhood around the consulate in the 16th arrondissement 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.

Source: News Agencies