Man threatens self-immolation at Iranian consulate in Paris, arrested

A man wearing a fake explosive vest threatened to blow himself up inside Tehran’s diplomatic mission in Paris

Police in Paris have arrested a man who entered the Iranian consulate and threatened to blow himself up. The man, who reportedly started fires near the same consulate last year, surrendered to officers after an hours-long standoff.

The suspect entered the building at around 11am local time, carrying what appeared to be a grenade and an explosive vest, the Paris prosecutor’s office told Le Parisien. He emerged several hours later and was taken into custody, after police determined that his explosive devices were fake, the office said.

Prosecutors described the suspect as a 60-year-old Frenchman of Iranian origin, A witness told BFMTV that the man had threatened to blow himself up inside the consulate, and made loud threats, claiming that he needed to avenge his brother. It is unclear whether he was motivated by the recent flareup of tension between Iran and Israel.

Police responded in force to the incident, with tactical units descending on the consulate and closing nearby streets. Video footage shared on social media showed heavily-armed units wheeling blast-proof barriers into place around the building before the suspect’s eventual surrender.

The prosecutor’s office told Le Parisien that the suspect was arrested last September for setting fire to tires outside the same Iranian consulate. He was given an eight month suspended sentence the following month and barred from carrying a weapon or entering the city’s 16th Arrondissement, where the consulate is located. 

According to BFMTV, the man described himself in court last year as an “idealistic” opponent of the Iranian government, and expressed support for the protests that broke out across Iran following the death of a young woman in police custody in 2022.