Last week, it was announced that Assadollah Assadi, the Iranian diplomat who masterminded a terror attack in the center of Paris three years ago, will not be appealing his February sentence. In a Belgian federal court, Assadi was tried alongside three co-conspirators and obtained the longest prison term of the party, 20 years.
Ever since the beginning of the inquiry into Assadi’s activities, he and his supporters in Tehran have claimed that he should have been given diplomatic immunity based on his status, regardless of the gravity of the case against him.
They have never explicitly denied the details of that event, which include an account of him purchasing explosives from Iran, smuggling them into Europe on a commercial airline using a diplomatic suitcase, and then handing them over to an Iranian-Belgian couple assigned with delivering the bomb to The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Expats’ annual meeting just outside of Paris.
According to reports, Assadi commanded his co-conspirators to position the unit as close to NCRI President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi as possible. Six months before, the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei publicly attributed a then-ongoing national uprising to the Iranian regime.
He claimed in particular that the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), had “planned for months” to promote anti-government slogans and divert formal demonstrations away from their sole economic emphasis and toward clear demands for regime change and democratic governance.
While all of these cases culminated in the arrest or expulsion of Iranian diplomats, they collectively highlight the fact that there is a significant danger of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism that has not been addressed by Assadi’s conviction alone.
Of course, Assadi’s conviction is a significant step forward, particularly given that he was the first Iranian official to face formal charges in Europe for his participation in terrorist activity. However, his trial demonstrated that he was far from acting alone.
As a result, much effort is still needed to dismantle terrorist networks that conflict with Iran’s diplomatic missions.
In a resolution submitted recently to the US House of Representatives, more than 220 members recognized the gravity of the problem. H. Res. 118 “calls on relevant United States Government agencies to work with European allies… to hold Iran accountable for breaching diplomatic privileges, and to call on nations to prevent the malign activities of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic missions, with the goal of closing them down.”
Members of the European Parliament from a number of countries recently stated that the Assadi case raises “no doubt about the Iranian regime’s terrorist objectives and the use of its embassies and diplomats in this regard” in a statement. It further said that the EU must “comprehensively reassess its policy on Iran” in response to this and other nefarious activities.
It expressly warned of possible infiltration by Iranian agents posing as “diplomats, journalists, or businessmen,” and urged appropriate authorities to classify the institutions responsible for the infiltration – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security – as terrorist organizations.
Following the conclusion of Assadi’s case, this is a logical next step. However, it must be considered as a small step toward a far greater goal: holding the entire Iranian dictatorship responsible for its terror activities.
With this in mind, the NCRI recently stated that any claim of such officials’ lack of knowledge “serves no purpose other than to cover up state-sponsored terrorism and assist the regime in avoiding the consequences of these major crimes.”
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