Iranian Embassy in Paris damaged; Tehran knocks police work

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2005 file photo, Iranian ambassador in Italy Bahram Ghasemi arrives for a dinner for diplomats from Muslim countries hosted by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, in Rome's Villa Madama residence. Iran’s official IRNA news agency said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ghasemi alleged Saturday that police in the French capital did not respond promptly to a disturbance at the Iranian Embassy in Paris on Friday. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

PARIS (AP) — The Iranian Embassy was damaged by a crowd that a local police official said Saturday was made up of “individuals,” while Iran’s Foreign Ministry accused them of being extremists and charged that the response by authorities in Paris was slow and weak.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said protesters tried to attack embassy Friday, the country’s official IRNA news agency reported. IRNA quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying officers did not arrive quickly after the disturbance was reported.

He said the troublemakers were members of an extremist organization that he did not identify, IRNA said.

“It is necessary for the French government to take serious measures to protect Iranian diplomatic missions in that country,” Ghasemi said, according to the news agency.

A Paris police spokeswoman gave a somewhat different version of what transpired. She said “individuals” threw objects and smashed windows at the embassy. She said she did not have information about the motives or identities of the people outside the embassy.

The spokeswoman said the responding officers searched 12 people, but didn’t take anyone into custody because embassy personnel didn’t want to file a complaint. She declined to give her name, a common police practice in France.

Ghasemi said some suspects were arrested and Iran has asked the French government to prosecute and punish them, IRNA reported. Tehran is doing its own investigation of the commotion and the allegedly tardy arrival of Paris police, the news agency said.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard last week claimed responsibility for a missile attack targeting an Iraqi base of the Kurdish separatist group Party of Democratic Kurdistan of Iran. The Revolutionary Guard said the attack killed at least 11 people and wounded 50.

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Associated Press writer Amir Vahdat reported this story from Tehran and AP writer Thomas Adamson reported in Paris.

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