In 2018, an attempted bombing of Iran’s key resistance movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), led to the arrest of an Iranian diplomat and a couple of Belgium Iranian descent. The bomb that was handed to the couple in a Pizza Hut was given the nickname of Play Station. Quite surprisingly, how can a bombing attempt aimed at killing thousands ever be called a game?
Khamenei's campaign of terror against Iranians and democracy is today being shown to the world. pic.twitter.com/LMSyQQ3fnq
— Iran Freedom (@4FreedominIran) November 27, 2020
It has taken 2 years for investigations to be completed following the arrest of the threesome and the end result points at the highest echelons of the Iranian government which allegedly authorized the bombing. The whole thing is really child’s play amongst adults but with catastrophic consequences. Whatever is the consequence of the trial it will put into the limelight the intentions of the Iranian regime to destroy dissidents’ activities overseas. In addition, European authorities will be questioning the effectiveness of any security that is used to infiltrate potential terrorist attacks in their countries.
Asadollah Assadi, the Iranian diplomat, was allegedly working in the capacity as an undercover intelligence agent who transported the bombing device to Vienna from Tehran on an Austrian Airlines flight in his baggage. In Vienna, he rented a car which he drove to Luxembourg, taking the bomb with him. He was actually apprehended In Germany at a gas station when he drove back to Austria.
AP: #Belgium’s intelligence and security agency (VSSE) says the diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, operated on orders of #Iran’s authorities &brought the explosives to Europe himself… 550g of the unstable TATP… device was of professional quality. #Terrorismhttps://t.co/87YX6m1Okx
— NCRI-U.S. Rep Office (@NCRIUS) November 25, 2020
When the couple was apprehended just outside Brussels they were actually on their way to Villepinte in France to carry out the attack. Amir Saadouni, 40, and his wife, Nasimeh Naami, 36, had actually been granted political asylum in Belgium. Despite their so-called life-threatening relationship with Iran they were tracked making many trips back to the country over the last few years. The Belgian authorities either just turned a blind eye or didn’t detect these movements but they had Belgian citizenship which was granted between 2016 and 2017.
Evidence gathered by the Belgian authorities discovered that Assadi worked for the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) while Saadouni and Naami were MOIS agents who had been trained on visits to Iran which began in 2010.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) November 27, 2020
Assadi’s Belgian lawyer, Dimitri de Béco, said Assadi had diplomatic immunity so he shouldn’t have been arrested. But Belgium’s State Security Service, Jaak Raes, stated that intelligence officials had discovered that the planned bombing was state-approved in Tehran. It was certainly not an individual initiative and so there is some doubt in what Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, said when he denied any links to the aborted bomb attack. Raes has informed the Belgian federal prosecutor, Frédéric Van Leeuw, of his findings.
It was the yearly convention of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) which was the target of the aborted deadly bomb attack. This is the main opposition group to the theocratic regime which replaced the Shah in 1979. It stands for universal suffrage, freedom, and democracy and rejects the religious fundamentalism that the current regime enforces every day. For its own safety, many of its members have been living in exile outside Iran as they have increasingly feared for their lives. The (PMOI / MEK Iran) was at one time listed as a terrorist organization by the EU and others but this was lifted in 2009.
1st session of the court in Antwerp, Belgium just concluded before the 2nd one begins momentarily. Iran regime's main terror culprit Assadollah Assadi to use diplomatic immunity ploy to escape persecution has gone nowhere. Next, prosecutor argument #ShutDownIranTerrorEmbassies pic.twitter.com/0AuPX7T6Cq
— Alireza Jafarzadeh (@A_Jafarzadeh) November 27, 2020
If a government fears an opposition group it doesn’t do it any good either domestically or internationally if it tries to bomb it out of existence. In this case, the Villepinte bomb targeted the mild-mannered but persuasive president-elect, Maryam Rajavi, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the MEK’s diplomatic wing. Her 10 point plan, if enforced, would bring about immense changes for the dispossessed in Iran.
The Iranian regime has increasingly become more disturbed by the popularity of the MEK. whose members and supporters have been involved in numerous street protests since 2017. The MEK’s annual convention overseas attracts thousands of people, including renowned foreign dignitaries such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.
Belgian investigators suggest Saadouni was recruited by the Iranian government and could have been pressurized to spy on the opposition group.
@TheNationalNews: The Iranian spy whose Paris 'bomb plot' could have sparked a war. Vienna-based diplomat Assadollah Assadi goes on trial this week accused of planning an attack on a dissidents’ rally in Paris #ExpelIranDiplomatTerrorists https://t.co/F6d2xHLtqb pic.twitter.com/E7hZFRBIIm
— Hossein Abedini (@HoAbedini) November 25, 2020
In a statement on Thursday, before the trial opened, Maryam Rajavi praised the Belgian authorities and said now is the time to demand accountability from Iran for the atrocities lodged against its citizens at home and abroad.