MEK Iran: Impending Assadi Verdict to Test Policy of Appeasement
On February 4, a Belgian court is set to hand down a verdict in the trial of Iranian regime diplomat Assadollah Assadi and his three accomplices on charges stemming from a terrorist plot to bomb the 2018 Free Iran gathering of MEK supporters in Villepinte, France.
The trial has garnered international attention because Assadi is the first sitting Iranian regime diplomat to stand trial in Europe on terrorism charges. A guilty verdict in Antwerp next month would deal a heavy blow to the policy of appeasement toward the Iranian regime that has characterized diplomatic relations between Europe and Iran since the mullahs seized power in 1979.
The 2018 Free Iran Terrorist Bombing Plot
Assadollah Assadi stands accused of masterminding a plot to bomb the 2018 Free Iran gathering, hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Villepinte, France. Assadi’s primary target was NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi, but the event was attended by tens of thousands of people, including dozens of prominent politicians, dignitaries, and human rights activists from around the world.
Former Vice-President of the European Parliament Alejo Vidal-Quadras described the potential consequences of a successful attack at an online conference about the trial on Thursday.
“I was sitting very close to Madam Rajavi. First-rank political figures were sitting in a space of a few meters around her. You can imagine the consequences of such an attack succeeded. The attack could have caused hundreds of deaths. The consequences would have been catastrophic,” he said.
Assadi used his position as Third Counsel
Assadi used his position as Third Counsel at the Iranian regime’s embassy in Vienna to plan the bombing attack. Belgian prosecutors say that he used his diplomatic pouch to smuggle highly volatile TATP explosives from Iran to Austria.
European investigators then observed Assadi hand off the bomb materials to Iranian-Belgian couple Nassimeh Naami and Amir Saadouni in Luxembourg. The couple was arrested by Belgian authorities en route to the gathering with 500 grams of TATP explosives and a detonator hidden in the trunk of their car. According to Naami and Saadouni’s confession, they were recruited by Assadi and ordered to travel to the rally and plant the bomb near Mrs. Rajavi’s seat.
Accomplice Mehrdad Arefani was arrested at the site of the gathering before he could enter the conference hall. Investigators say that his role was to provide information about the conference from the ground.
Assadi was arrested by German authorities while trying to flee the country to avoid prosecution. He was in possession of a notebook containing instructions on how to build a bomb and information intended for Naami and Saandouni on steps to be taken after the bombing.
Planned at the Highest Levels
The Iranian regime has gone to great lengths to evade responsibility for the foiled terrorist attack, alternately calling it a false flag perpetrated by the MEK and a rogue operation. However, both European authorities and MEK sources have independently found information showing that the attack was ordered by regime officials at the highest level in Tehran.
“We know that the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the regime President Hassan Rouhani and the always-smiling Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, all three knew about the attack, all three agreed to the attack, and all three ordered it. If you reflect on this, you can imagine the scope of this attack,” Vidal-Quadras said at Thursday’s conference.
Former Member of European Parliament Struan Stevenson was also present at the conference. He agreed with Vidal-Quadras, saying: “As a diplomat, you can’t make hundreds of visits to different countries without permission from your ambassador. And the ambassador takes his command from Tehran. There’s no doubt that this plot was ordered by Khamenei, Rouhani, Zarif, and Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi.”
Using diplomatic immunity as a cover point to culpability
Assadi and Iranian regime officials have repeatedly claimed that he cannot be prosecuted for the attempted bombing because diplomatic immunity protects him. However, at an October online conference international criminal law attorney Cristophe Marchand pointed out that using diplomatic immunity as a cover points to culpability.
“[Assadi] claims to have diplomatic immunity. But if he does so, then he also accepts responsibility by the regime for this horrible act.”
A guilty verdict next week would send a message to the Iranian regime that actions have consequences. The mullahs have acted with impunity for four decades, putting the global community at risk. If we allow terrorist plots on high-ranking politicians on European soil, what will the Iranian regime feel emboldened to try next?