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Police in Paris detain a man at Iran’s Consulate after reports he was armed but find no weapons

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PARIS (AP) — Police found no weapons on a man detained Friday at the Iranian Consulate in Paris after responding to a report of a suspicious man seen carrying a grenade and explosives vest, an official said.

Elite police forces and soldiers surrounded the building and barred traffic in the area during an hours-long security intervention. The incident came at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, and as Paris is gearing up to host the summer Olympics.

The Iranian Embassy did not comment publicly on the incident.

The suspect had been previously convicted for setting fire at the embassy gates last year, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

He was spotted around 11 a.m. outside the consulate and a witness told police he had a grenade and an explosives vest, according to a police official. Police then launched a special intervention.

No weapons were found on him or in his vehicle, the Paris police official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to be publicly named under police policy.

Some of the police, special agents and firefighters who responded to the incident at the consulate were later seen leaving the scene after the arrest. A police cordon remained in place, but traffic was resuming in the area.

The Paris public prosecutor was informed of the arrest of a man leaving the Iranian Consulate in the French capital’s 16th arrondissement at 2:50 p.m., the prosecutor’s office said in an emailed statement to the AP.

Inside the consulate, the man “allegedly made threats of violent acts,” but then left the building alone, the statement said, adding that “no explosive material was found on him or on site around him” by police officers who took him into custody.

Authorities did not name the suspect nor give any information on possible motive for his actions but said he was born in Iran, in 1963.

The prosecutor’s office also confirmed the suspect has been known to authorities and received an eight-month suspended sentence by the Paris Criminal Court in October for setting car tires on fire at the gate of the Iranian Embassy in Paris in September 2023. He said it was a protest act against the Iranian government, the statement said.

As part of that sentence, the prosecutor’s statement said, the man was also banned from carrying a weapon and had a two-year ban on appearing in the 16th arrondissement. The sentence was pending because of the defendant’s appeal, it added.

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Associated Press writers Thomas Adamson in Paris and Barbara Surk in Nice, France, contributed to this report.

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