No weapons found after police detain man at Iranian consulate in Paris

19 April 2024, 16:44

Police officers patrol
France Iran. Picture: PA

Images on French television and social media showed officers surrounding the building.

Police have found no weapons on a man detained at the Iranian Consulate in Paris after responding to a report of a suspicious individual seen carrying a grenade and explosives vest, an official said.

Elite police forces and soldiers surrounded the building and blocked traffic in the area during an hours-long security intervention, at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, and as Paris gears up to host the Olympics.

The suspect had been previously convicted for setting a fire at the embassy gates last year, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

He was spotted at around 11am outside the consulate and a witness told police he had a grenade and an explosives vest, according to a police official, and officers launched a special intervention.

France Iran
The Iranian embassy and consulate in Paris (Thomas Padilla/AP)

No weapons were found on him or in his vehicle, the police official told the Associated Press.

Some of the police, special agents and firefighters who responded to the incident at the consulate left the scene after the arrest. A police cordon remained in place, but traffic was resuming in the area.

The Paris public prosecutor was informed of the arrest of a man leaving the Iranian Consulate in the French capital’s 16th arrondissement, or municipal area, at 2.50pm, the prosecutor’s office said.

Inside the consulate, the man “allegedly made threats of violent acts”, but left the building alone, the statement said, adding that “no explosive material was found on him or on site around him” by officers who took him into custody.

Authorities did not name the suspect nor give any information on a possible motive for his actions but said he was born in Iran in 1963.

The prosecutor’s office confirmed the suspect has been known to authorities and received an eight-month suspended sentence by the Paris Criminal Court in October for setting car tyres on fire at the gate of the Iranian Embassy in Paris in September 2023.

He said it was a protest act against the Iranian government, the statement said.

As part of that sentence, the prosecutor’s statement said, the man was banned from carrying a weapon and had a two-year ban on appearing in the 16th arrondissement. The sentence was pending because of the defendant’s appeal, it added.

By Press Association

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