Iranian diplomat held in Belgium over ‘bomb plot’

Iranian opposition activists in July demanded diplomat Assadollah Assadi was extradited to Belgium from Germany. (AFP)
Updated 10 October 2018

Iranian diplomat held in Belgium over ‘bomb plot’

BRUSSELS: An Iranian diplomat was taken into custody in Belgium on Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in an alleged plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in France.
An investigating magistrate earlier questioned the Iranian, normally based in Vienna, in the northern Belgian city of Antwerp, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that the suspect, previously identified as Assadollah Assadi, had been extradited to Belgium from Germany.
Iran has denied French accusations that one of its diplomats was involved in a plot targeting an annual gathering of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on June 30 just outside Paris.
Belgian anti-terrorism prosecutors announced on July 2 that they had foiled the plot. They then requested the extradition of both Assadi and a man identified as Merhad A., who was detained in Paris.
Belgian police believe Merhad A. is an accomplice of a husband and wife team caught in Brussels in possession of 500 grams (about a pound) of the powerful explosive TATP and a detonator.
All three are Belgian nationals of Iranian origin.


Turkey plans to resume flights with 40 countries in June

Updated 3 min 49 sec ago

Turkey plans to resume flights with 40 countries in June

  • Turkey largely sealed off its borders as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak
  • Domestic flights resumed on Monday to some provinces

ANKARA: Turkey plans to resume flights with around 40 countries in June and has reached preliminary agreements for reciprocal air travel with 15 countries, Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said on Thursday.
Turkey largely sealed off its borders as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Domestic flights resumed on Monday to some provinces as Ankara eased restrictions after a significant drop in infection rates.
Karaismailoglu said flights would resume in five stages in June, adding Turkey was in talks with 92 countries on resuming flights in a safe manner.
“We believe that we have left behind an important point in the battle against the virus globally. Now, we have to continue our global ties and trade,” he said in a written statement.
Flights to Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece will resume on June 10, he said. Flights to 17 destinations, including Germany, Austria, Croatia, and Singapore will restart on June 15. Flights to a further 16 countries will begin on June 20, 22 and 25, including to South Korea, Qatar, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium, he added.
The 15 countries with which Ankara has reached a preliminary agreement to resume reciprocal flights include Italy, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Albania, Belarus, Jordan and Morocco.
Germany said on Wednesday it was talking to Ankara about reviewing travel restrictions but was awaiting a recommendation from the European Union.
The virus has killed 4,609 people in Turkey, with more than 165,000 infections so far.