France sentences man to prison for Iran consulate intrusion

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A French court this week handed an Iran-born man a suspended 10-month sentence for entering the Iranian consulate in Paris with fake grenades in what he said was “revenge” for a crackdown at home that targeted his family.

The 61-year-old, a long-time resident of France who regularly attends Iranian opposition demonstrations, told the court he acted on Friday after learning the previous day that his sister had been arrested.

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He said he had not wanted to “threaten anyone” but rather “take revenge” on the Iranian authorities, who he described as “terrorist”.

The court, in a ruling late on Monday, also banned him from carrying a weapon or approaching the consulate again.

Soldiers and police descended en masse on the neighborhood around the consulate on Friday after the mission reported an intruder entering with a grenade or explosive belt.

But police found no explosives on him or inside after arresting him.

A police source, who did not wish to be named, said the suspect had been wearing a vest with large pockets containing three fake grenades.

The judge said witnesses recounted the man “tearing down flags” and saying he “wanted to die”. Police negotiators managed to convince him to exit the building without his jacket.

A psychiatric expert found the man was of sound mind.

During his trial, the accused embarked on long tirades about the political situation in Iran, prompting the judge to remind him to “stick to the facts”.

The man had already been convicted for setting fire to tires in front of the entrance of the Iranian embassy in Paris in 2023, prosecutors said.

Citizens in the Islamic republic have endured increased repression since nationwide protests began in September 2022.

The demonstrations were sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly flouting the mandatory dress rules for women.

Executions – which activists say are a way to instill fear into Iranian society – have also continued apace.

At least 110 people have been executed this year alone, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights group.

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