France has blamed Iran’s ministry of intelligence of plotting a bomb attack on an exiled opposition group’s rally outside the capital, Paris, in June.
A joint statement by France’s interior, economy and foreign ministers said the freezing of assets belonging to Tehran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals on Tuesday was linked to the alleged attempt to bomb the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) rally.
The French ministers called the six-month freeze on the assets “preventative, targeted and proportionate”.
The hardening of relations between Paris and Tehran could have far-reaching consequences for Iran as President Hassan Rouhani’s government looks to European capitals to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal after the US pulled out and reimposed tough sanctions on the country.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told the media that Tehran has rejected the French complaint completely and forcefully, but said the door for discussion is open.
The number of people known to have died in Friday’s earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia has risen to one thousand, three hundred and forty-seven, disaster response officials say.
The death toll jumped on Tuesday from a previously confirmed figure of eight hundred and forty-four. The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu.
Aid supplies are beginning to arrive in the city, where survivors have no access to running water or electricity.
President Joko Widodo has called for reinforcements, telling the national search-and-rescue agency to send more police officers and soldiers into affected districts.The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs says there are nearly two hundred thousand people in urgent need of assistance, about a quarter of them children.