By F Mahmoudi
A terrorist network in Belgium affiliated with the Iranian government will be on trial on November 27, 2020.
This trial will cast a verdict on individuals who are not members of an extremist group, but members of an organized network of state-sponsored terror that has carried out bloody and horrific terrorist attacks many times over the last forty years. This network has left footprints in many operations. However, in the case of assassinations of political opponents such as Dr. Abdolrahman Ghassemlou in Austria (1989), Dr. Shahpour Bakhtiar in Paris (1991), Dr. Kazem Rajavi in Switzerland (1990), and Mohammad Hossein Naghdi in Italy (1993), the perpetrators have evaded justice and their crimes have been swept under the rug due to a policy of appeasement.
This is the first time that the Iranian regime has been implicated legally for sponsoring terrorism in Europe. In the case, Assadollah Asadi, an Iranian diplomat and the third secretary of the Iranian regime’s embassy in Austria has been accused of planning, organizing and carrying out attacks against a large political gathering in Paris, France in June 2018.
Assadollah Asadi flew an explosive that was manufactured in Iran to Austria, endangering the lives of hundreds of passengers. From Austria, he then transported it to Luxembourg and transferred it to the accomplices under his command, Amir Saadouni and Nasimeh Naami.
During this time, they were under police surveillance, and a bomb containing 500 grams of the highly explosive substance acetone peroxide was discovered in Naami’s bag and defused in Belgium. The duo admitted that their mission was to bomb a large gathering held in Paris by Iran’s organized opposition (the National Council of Resistance of Iran) and to target the president-elect of the organization, Maryam Rajavi. French police also arrested another member of this network named Mehrdad Arefani in front of the Villepinte hall, where the rally was being held.
With the exception of Assadollah Asadi, the four-member group has confessed to their involvement in the terrorist operation and its links to the Iranian regime.
The targets of the attacks were the hundreds of British politicians, European Union MP’s, and American Congresspeople as well as the thousands of human rights activists who were present at the gathering. Hundreds of plaintiffs have sought justice for these criminals in the trial and the court is expected to issue a strong final verdict.
This trial’s verdict is not just limited to the individual defendants, but the entire Iranian regime and its terrorist apparatus. The plot in Paris was just one incident in the long history of the Iranian regime’s terrorism, hostage-taking and foreign repression headed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the former commander of the IRGC Quds Force Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike at Baghdad airport in 2020.
This tribunal is an opportunity for Europe to prosecute Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and stand up to the incessant threat posed by the Iranian regime. The mullahs consider inaction against such acts as a sign of Europe’s weakness. As such, terrorism and civilian endangerment is used as a bargaining chip every time the regime needs to get out of a political or social dilemma.
It is naive to think that fundamentalist terrorism in Europe and elsewhere is unrelated to the Iranian regime. The November 2019 uprisings in Iran showed the world that the Iranian regime is weak and on the brink of collapse. The plot in Paris symbolizes the desperate measures the regime is willing to take to silence their opposition. The time of appeasement and negotiating is over. It is time for European countries to acknowledge the realities of the Iranian regime by standing for justice and accountability.