France has been accused of agreeing to a crackdown on exiled opponents of Iran in return for lucrative commercial contracts.
Lawyers for France’s human rights league, speaking on the anniversary of a huge police raid on the National Council of Resistance of Iran near Paris, pointed out “troubling coincidences” in the timing of the operation and a series of deals with Teheran.
In March last year, the regime signed a large contract with the French telecommunications group Alcatel for a telephone network.
In April last year Teheran offered the petrol giant TotalFina a Â£660 million gas fields contract. At the same time, a contract was signed with Renault to produce 500,000 cars over four years, the lawyers said.
Then, in June, police arrested 164 members of the Iranian opposition and placed 17 under investigation for having links with or funding terrorism. The authorities said they were looking for a link with a mortar attack on the office of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, in Teheran in 2000.
“The public should ask itself why this type of operation [was made] at the same time as commercial contracts were signed with a tyrannical and terrorist regime,” said Patrick Baudoin, a lawyer.
One year on, not a shred of evidence incriminating the 17 had been found, said Mr Baudoin, who will file for the case to be closed next Tuesday. The French state had “flouted the rule of law to gain from petro-dollars”, he said.