The trial of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna, Austria, on terrorism charges should have caused shockwaves through Europe. Assadi has been accused, together with his three Iranian / Belgian accomplices, of planning and nearly carrying out what could have been Europe’s worst terror attack.
https://t.co/fDw1tKXyUQ: On June 30, 2018, a sophisticated bomb should have exploded during a meeting of the #NCRI a coalition of movements opposed to the authorities in Tehran. The attack plan had been foiled by extremists. #MEK #Iran https://t.co/Vihck8lA6j
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) October 10, 2020
The bomb attack had been timed to coincide with the annual Free Iran rally organized by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on June 30th, 2018, in Villepinte, a Paris suburb.
The rally was attended by tens of thousands of people, including members and supporters of the Iranian resistance, as well as many foreign visitors. People like Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, as well as other foreign politicians and parliamentarians, were due to give speeches at the rally. The keynote speaker was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the NCRI. She may have been the prime target of the planned bombing, but many others near her, including Giuliani, would have been killed or seriously injured if the bomb plot had not been foiled by tipped off security experts in Belgium, France, and Germany.
Assadi has invoked diplomatic immunity and has refused to attend the trial in person. However, Belgian authorities consider that immunity could only be invoked in Austria, where the Iranian diplomat was based. He was arrested in Germany on his way back from Luxembourg, where it is alleged that he handed 500g of explosives over to the couple who had been paid to take the bomb to Paris.
The Iranian regime, who must have planned and approved of the bomb attack initially, has refused to admit that it was involved but is no doubt feeling the heat, especially as it may now be depending on European support for a renewal of the suspended 2015 nuclear deal. The trial is bound to point the finger directly at Tehran and the mullahs.
Some key points about the Assadi trial so far
- Assadi obtained the explosives from Tehran and brought them to Austria in a diplomatic bag.
- He drove to Luxembourg and delivered the explosives to the Belgian/Iranian couple, Saadouni and Naami at a Pizza Hut restaurant.
- He was arrested on his way back to Austria, but on German soil.
- The German police found instructions for charging the bomb in Assadi’s car.
- The couple kept the explosives and then drove towards Paris where their part in the bomb attack was to plant the bomb as close as possible to where Mrs. Rajavi was due to make her speech.
- The two accomplices were arrested in Belgium on their way to Paris.
- The third accomplice, Mehrdad Arefani, was arrested at Villepinte, where he had been assigned as the supervisor or watchkeeper by Assadi.
- The Iranian regime initially did its best to stop the trial and deny any involvement. Assadi has denied any involvement and said he was immune from prosecution because of diplomatic immunity, something that Belgian authorities have discounted.
- Assadi is not the main mastermind behind the planning of the bomb attack, according to documents obtained by Belgian prosecutors. There is evidence that the initial approval and planning came from Tehran.
- Lawyers for the NCRI and (PMOI / MEK Iran) have presented evidence that the regime has targeted the NCRI for many years.
- Assadi is being tried ‘in absentia.’
- The Belgian prosecutor has demanded that Assadi serves 20 years in prison for terrorism, the couple, Saadouni and Naami, 18 years for their complicity, and 15 years for Arefani.
- Prosecutors say that diplomatic immunity for Assadi is not possible legally as he was planning ‘mass murder’ and in any case, was arrested outside the jurisdiction for which h was based as a diplomat.
- State media in Iran has blamed Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, for caving into European demands. Assadi has probably not endeared himself to Belgian police by attempting to threaten them with ‘possible retaliation if the trial went ahead.
The trial will not result in a final verdict until early next year. It’s likely that the four people being tried will be convicted, but the real question is exactly what European authorities will do about the real criminals in Tehran who were behind the plot to carry out mass murder in the heart of Europe. This is a test of their policy so far of appeasing the terrorists in Iran, a policy which this trial has spectacularly exposed as being naïve.