Iranian Embassy in Paris damaged; Tehran knocks police work

French police stand guard outside the Iranian Embassy in the French capital, Paris, on Sept. 14. (AFP)
Updated 16 September 2018

Iranian Embassy in Paris damaged; Tehran knocks police work

  • Protesters tried to attack the embassy on Friday, IRNA news agency reported
  • Ghasemi said some suspects were arrested and Iran has asked the French government to prosecute them

PARIS: The Iranian Embassy was damaged by a crowd that a local police official said Saturday was made up of “individuals,” while Iran’s Foreign Ministry accused them of being extremists and charged that the response by authorities in Paris was slow and weak.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said protesters tried to attack the embassy Friday, the country’s official IRNA news agency reported. IRNA quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying officers did not arrive quickly after the disturbance was reported.

He said the troublemakers were members of an extremist organization that he did not identify, IRNA said.

“It is necessary for the French government to take serious measures to protect Iranian diplomatic missions in that country,” Ghasemi said, according to the news agency.

A Paris police spokeswoman gave a somewhat different version of what transpired. She said “individuals” threw objects and smashed windows at the embassy. She said she did not have information about the motives or identities of the people outside the embassy.

The spokeswoman said the responding officers searched 12 people, but did not take anyone into custody because embassy personnel didn’t want to file a complaint. She declined to give her name, a common police practice in France.

Ghasemi said some suspects were arrested and Iran has asked the French government to prosecute and punish them, IRNA reported. Tehran is doing its own investigation of the commotion and the allegedly tardy arrival of Paris police, the news agency said.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard last week claimed responsibility for a missile attack targeting an Iraqi base of the Kurdish separatist group Party of Democratic Kurdistan of Iran. The Revolutionary Guard said the attack killed at least 11 people and wounded 50.


I won’t quit: Lebanese PM defiant as his critics blast financial chaos

Updated 42 min 46 sec ago

I won’t quit: Lebanese PM defiant as his critics blast financial chaos

  • University president and UN human rights chief join condemnation of ‘incompetent’ government

BEIRUT: Beleaguered Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Saturday defied a barrage of criticism to declare that his government alone ruled Lebanon and it was determined to implement reforms to resolve the financial crisis.

Diab dismissed as “fake news” reports that he was on the verge of resignation, and said: “Lebanon will not be under anyone’s control as long as I am in power.”

The prime minister spoke after UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned that Lebanon was enduring “the worst economic crisis in its history” and was “fast spiraling out of control.” 

She urged Diab’s government to initiate urgent reforms and respond to “the people’s essential needs, such as food, electricity, health, and education.”

Diab also faced harsh criticism from the American University of Beirut (AUB), where he was vice president and a professor before becoming prime minister.

BACKGROUND

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged the Lebanese government to initiate urgent reforms and respond to ‘the people’s essential needs, such as food, health and education.’

AUB president Fadlo Khuri said Diab’s government was the worst in Lebanon’s history in its understanding of higher education.

“I have not seen any shred of competence in this government since its formation six months ago,” said.

“The government owes the AUB $150 million in medical bills,” Khuri said, and he urged Diab to “at least discuss with us a payment timeline.”

Lebanon’s financial plight is illustrated by its currency, the lira, which has lost 80 percent of its value. 

The black market  dollar exchange rate on Saturday was 7,500, compared with the official rate of 1,507.

Bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund were suspended in a dispute over government debt, but Diab insisted on Saturday: “We have turned the page … and started discussing the basic reforms required and the program that the IMF and Lebanon will agree upon, which will restore confidence and open the door to many projects.”