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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Group 'Was Eyeing Attacks'

PARIS -- An Iranian opposition group was planning to attack Iranian diplomatic missions in Europe and elsewhere, the French chief of intelligence said, after three more Iranians set themselves on fire to protest a crackdown on the group.

Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, the head of France's counterintelligence agency, said Wednesday that none of the missions were in France, where the People's Mujahedin is headquartered.

On Tuesday, police raided the group's walled compound in Auvers-Sur-Oise, north of Paris, and 12 other sites, detaining 159 people and seizing at least $8 million in U.S. currency.

The People's Mujahedin "was preparing to commit attacks outside Iran, including in Europe," the intelligence chief said. He said the group was making Auvers-Sur-Oise "an operational center for terrorism."

Bousquet de Florian spoke at a news conference after a day of protests outside the agency's headquarters by scores of People's Mujahedin members -- three of whom set themselves on fire in the course of the day.

Police said the three were severely burned. Late Wednesday, the People's Mujahedin office in Washington said one of the three, a 40-year-old woman identified as Marzieh Babakhani, had died of her burns.

Two other People's Mujahedin supporters -- in London and in Bern, Switzerland -- set themselves afire.

Paris Police Chief Jean-Paul Proust later banned demonstrations by the group "given these suicidal acts," and said protesters would be arrested.

An official of the National Council of Resistance, the group's so-called parliament in exile, denied the charges.

"The Iranian resistance, in the last 22 years, has always functioned within the realm of the law of the host country," Shahin Gobodi said by telephone.

"This is only an excuse to cover up the French dirty deal with the mullahs," he said, referring to Iran's clerical leaders.