ISSN 2330-717X

Iran Diplomat Stands Trial For Terrorism: 240 Lawmakers Demand Protection For Europe Against Iran’s State Terrorism – OpEd

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On the morning of June 30, 2018, my family and I took an early flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport to attend the annual Free Iran Grand Gathering in Villepinte, Paris. Little did we know that we were due to be the targets of state terrorism by the Iranian regime later that very same day – as were tens of thousands of others including hundreds of political dignitaries from all around the world who attended the gathering. 

As with every year, on that day, the event was splendid, peaceful and full of energetic participants ready to make their voices heard. Unbeknown to us, the Iranian regime was to activate through a remote detonator a horrific Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) bomb, which would turn the place upside down and create a bloody massacre. According to experts, hundreds, if not thousands of participants could have been killed. Fortunately, the plot had been foiled thanks to the joint operation of the security services of multiple European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg), after a tip-off from a fifth party. 

According to the prosecutors, the TATP bomb had been smuggled into Austria by an Iranian regime diplomat named Assadollah Assadi. He is in fact a senior officer of the notorious Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and was able to sneak the bomb undetected in a diplomatic bag on an Austrian Airline passenger plane. 

He then travelled to Luxembourg City and personally handed the bomb over to two of his accomplices, namely, Nasimeh Naami and Amir Sadouni, in a Pizza Hut restaurant. The bomb was compact enough to fit in a small pizza box, yet so powerful that its destructive waves would have reached well beyond a radius of 100 metres. The code word for the bomb was “PlayStation 4”. They were going to “win the cup” that day, on the “day of love” – they said in their communications after their ominous meeting. The day they labelled the “day of love”, was the day that they were going to murder and injure thousands of civilians at the heart of Europe. After their attack, they wrote, that they were going to “Ali’s house” to claim their reward – by “Ali” they meant Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran – and by “house” they meant Iran.

The fourth culprit, Mehrdad Arefani, is an undercover MOIS agent. He was at the scene and is reported to have acted as Assadi’s eyes and ears throughout the planning stages and on the day of their mission. 

The the goal was to hit the National Council of Resistance (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) with a destructive blow, and the main target was the NCRI’s President-Elect, Maryam Rajavi.

All four agents were arrested on the day of the planned bombing and have been behind bars in Belgium ever since. The final stage of their trial is in progress this very week, with the last session taking place on Thursday 3 December 2020. 

The mountain of evidence gathered in proof of the guilt of all four terrorists, including Assadi and the Iranian regime’s leaders’ and MOIS’s involvement in this case, is ample and overwhelming. That is why, despite the regime’s best efforts, they cannot escape the law this time and were unable to prevent the trial from taking place.

The attack had been planned by the regime as a response to the mass nationwide anti-regime protests in December 2017 and January 2018, which had shaken the regime to its core as the people called for the regime’s overthrow. In January 2018, Khamenei had pointedly underscored the role of the MEK and its network in leading the uprising. Ali Shamkhani, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Admiral (IRGC) and secretary of the regime’s Supreme National Security Council, said on 1 January 2018: “The hypocrites [the pejorative term the Iranian regime uses for the MEK] will receive an appropriate response from Iran from where they do not expect.”  

With the current situation in Iran more explosive than ever, there is no doubt that the regime in Tehran is lying in wait, for the right time to intensify its violence and terrorism. 

Only a few weeks ago, Reuters News Agency revealed that in a meeting with Belgian Police, Assadollah Assadi “warned authorities of possible retaliation by unidentified groups if he is found guilty”. Accordingly, Assadi told police that armed groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria, as well as in Iran, were interested in the outcome of his case and would be “watching from the side-lines to see if Belgium would support them or not.”

Since it was always known to Iranians, and now proven through clear evidence, that the Iranian regime uses the diplomatic immunity afforded to its embassies and diplomats to transfer the tools necessary to carry out its terrorist operations, to prevent any future attacks or threats thereof, the embassies of the Islamic Republic of Iran must be closed down immediately and the individuals involved in such malign activities, expelled. 

To this end, in a joint statement, more than 240 cross-party lawmakers from 19 European countries, have urged their governments to protect Europe from Iran’s state terrorism.

The statement also refers to reports of the German Federal Security Service that stated that an important centre of the regime’s intelligence activities, which focused on the MEK and the NCRI, is at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin.

The sponsors of the statement add: “On 2 October 2018, France expelled an Iranian diplomat. Also, three French ministers condemned the preparation of a terrorist act on European soil. Six regime’s diplomats have been expelled from the Netherlands and Albania over the past two years. Four people, including an Iranian diplomat, are currently in prison in Belgium, and their trial is set for 27 November.”

They conclude: 

“Apart from the judicial process, which is independently underway in Belgium, we believe it is time to reconsider dealing with the Iranian state terrorism. We demand:

1. The continuation of relations with Iran be made contingent upon the necessary guarantees from the Iranian regime to put an end to its terrorist acts on European soil.

2. Considering the Iranian regime’s use of diplomatic cover to carry out terrorist acts, the necessary practical warnings should be given to Tehran, such as the closure of its embassies and the expulsion of its ambassadors and diplomats.

3. In accordance with the Declaration of the European Union of 29 April 1997, Tehran’s intelligence agents, using the cover of diplomats, journalists, businessmen, etc., should be expelled, and the regime’s religious and cultural front institutions in Europe which serve as terrorist and fundamentalist centers should be closed.”

*Amir Seifi is an EU citizen, currently resident in Ireland, and originally from Iran. He is an engineering manager and a human rights activist. Following the student uprising of 1999, he had to leave Iran along with his family who have a long history as political activists and prisoners since his childhood years in Iran.

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