June 21, 2007 / 3:01 PM / in 12 years

France expels Iranian over suspected nuclear link

PARIS (Reuters) - France has expelled an Iranian student over alleged links to Iran’s nuclear programme and he now seeks to clear his name so he can resume studies at a top Paris institute, the student’s lawyer said on Thursday.

Police put 28-year-old masters student Farshad Mobasher Fard on a plane back to Tehran on Wednesday after detaining him under an order which said he posed a threat to public order, his lawyer Najoua el Khili told Reuters.

“He’s a student in management and industrial logistics, which has got nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear programme,” el Khili said. “This has come like a bolt out of the blue ... He left with just his mobile phone and the shirt on his back.”

The expulsion order was based on a UN Security Council resolution that says countries have to be vigilant about anyone who might help Iran’s nuclear activities, she said.

Iran says its programme to produce nuclear fuel through uranium enrichment is solely for electricity generation but Western powers suspect it wants to build atomic bombs.

Two sets of U.N. sanctions have been imposed on Iran and a third is being sought by Washington and EU powers.

Fard’s lawyer said the student had worked in Iran for a company which apparently had the same name as a firm connected to Iran’s nuclear industry.

The student was quoted by Le Parisien daily as saying he had already explained the apparent mix up to the authorities prior to his arrival to study logistics and industrial management at Ecoles des Mines institute in Paris.

French police were not immediately available for comment.

El Khili said Fard had not been able to appeal against an original expulsion order because he had moved house and the document had been sent to his former address without his knowledge.

The defence could now seek a new visa for Fard from the French embassy in Tehran to let him complete a one-year course that ends in September.

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