February 13, 2019 / 5:33 PM / 3 days ago

France, Iran close to restoring ambassadors - foreign minister

FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a news conference with Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, in Doha, Qatar February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon

PARIS (Reuters) - France and Iran are close to exchanging ambassadors after Paris suspended nominating an envoy to Tehran last year over claims Iranian intelligence officials had planned an attack on an opposition group in Paris, France’s foreign minister said.

“We protested vigorously against an attempted attack that was stopped in the Paris region which led us to suspend the nomination of our ambassador to Tehran and Tehran responded reciprocally,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

“But we are close to reaching a conclusion on this situation as long as (Iran) keeps to the 2015 (nuclear) deal.”

France in October said there was no doubt Iran’s intelligence ministry was behind a June plot to attack an exiled opposition group’s rally outside Paris and it seized assets belonging to Tehran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals.

Those sanctions have since been adopted at European Union level after further accusations against Iran for plotting attacks elsewhere in Europe.

Iranian and French diplomats have said the exchange of diplomats is likely before the summer.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Leigh Thomas

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