Iran, France to swap ambassadors after strained ties | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 07, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 07, 2019

Iran, France to swap ambassadors after strained ties

Iran and France are set to exchange ambassadors, officials said yesterday, after months of tensions including over an alleged Iranian plot to bomb an opposition rally near Paris.

Bahram Ghasemi, a former envoy to Spain and Italy and current spokesman of the foreign ministry, has been appointed as Iran's new ambassador to France, an official source in Tehran told AFP.

In Paris, the Official Gazette yesterday said that Philippe Thiebaud, a former envoy to Pakistan who once represented France at the UN atomic watchdog, had been appointed as ambassador to the Islamic republic of Iran.

Ghasemi and Thiebaud will fill posts that had been vacant for more than six months after a series of diplomatic fallouts between France and Iran broke out last year.

The previous French ambassador left Iran at the end of his mandate in August while Tehran's envoy left Paris last summer before finishing his term. No official reason was given for his abrupt departure.

In June, France accused a branch of Iran's intelligence ministry of attempting to bomb a meeting of the People's Mujahedin, an Iranian opposition group, near Paris.

Tehran vehemently denied the accusations and in return slammed France for hosting the group which it calls a "terrorist cult of hypocrites".

Relations between France and Iran have also been strained over demands by Paris that Iran limits its ballistic missiles programme -- which Tehran says is purely defensive.

Iran reined in most of its nuclear programme under a landmark 2015 deal with major powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- that lifted sanctions on the Iran.

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