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Iran, France to swap ambassadors after diplomatic spat

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran and France are to exchange ambassadors after Paris suspended nomination of an envoy to Tehran last year over accusations that Iranian intelligence had planned an attack on an opposition group in Paris, official reports said.

In Tehran, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website said on Friday that Iran has named Bahram Qasemi, the ministry’s spokesman and a former envoy to Spain and other countries, as the new ambassador to Paris.

France has joined Britain and Germany in setting up a new Europe-Iran trade channel aimed at cushioning the blow of sanctions, which the U.S. has reimposed on Tehran after Washington’s withdrawal from a landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Philippe Thiebaud, a former envoy to South Korea, has been named as ambassador to Iran, according to France’s official gazette.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said last month that the two countries were close to exchanging ambassadors after the delay caused by the diplomatic spat.

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. It seized assets belonging to Tehran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals. Iran denied the accusations.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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