During the second court hearing in Antwerp for the four people accused of an attempt to blow up the Free Iran Rally by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on June 30th, 2018, the defendants more or less acknowledged they had been involved, but at the same time tried to claim that they didn’t realize it could have been serious.
Assadollah Assadi, the Iranian diplomat based in Vienna, Austria, has claimed diplomatic immunity, something that the Belgian prosecutors have said does not hold as he was arrested outside of the country where he had a diplomatic posting as well as the fact he was planning to commit mass murder. Assadi did not appear in court, under instructions from his minders in Tehran, but was represented by his lawyer, Dimitri de Béco.
The second session has begun of the trial of Iran’s diplomat-terrorist, Assadollah Assadi, in Belgium and his 3 accomplices accused of organizing a foiled bomb plot against the Iranian Resistance’s 2018 annual Free Iran gathering by #MEK #Iran and #NCRI. #WeStand4FreeIran pic.twitter.com/oI9IGEG759
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) December 6, 2020
The other three standing trials are the couple who accepted the explosives from Assadi in Luxembourg, Saadouni, and his wife, Naami, as well as the person recruited to watch what happened at Villepinte, Arefani.
Assadi’s lawyer’s only defense advanced on behalf of the diplomat was that he had diplomatic immunity so couldn’t be tried. This argument was rejected by prosecutors who said that both Belgian and Austrian law permitted the arrest of Assadi, despite his diplomatic post. It is of note that Assadi’s lawyer did not directly refute the allegation that Assadi had brought 500g of explosives into Europe from Tehran and delivered it to Saadouni and Naami.
As for the other three defendants’ laughable defenses, Saadouni claimed that he and his wife did not realize that the explosives they had in their possession when arrested were capable of killing and seriously injuring so many people. They compared the 500g of TATP explosives to ‘fireworks.’ Some fireworks!
500g of TATP when detonated has been used several times already in Europe in terrorist attacks. The explosive material is nicknamed the “mother of Satan” because of its power to destruct. Belgium explosives experts say, in contradiction to the comments made by the couple, that the device the couple was carrying was a very professional ‘improvised explosive device’ or IED.
Belgium Extends Sentence for #Iran'ian Regime Terrorist Involved in Plot Against Opposition Conference
According to Belga news agency, the verdict was given by the first branch of Antwerp’s criminal court. The verdict underlines that Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian regime… pic.twitter.com/u79YaJdjM5
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) January 23, 2019
John Platteau, Naami’s lawyer, did not deny the link between the couple and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security in Iran (MOIS). He still sought to downplay the role the couple played. “Nasimeh believes they were acting like fools and became tools of the regime. It was not an explosive package, but fireworks. You might get angry if I say this, but when the bomb exploded, it did not cause any serious damage. This is an issue between Iran and the West in which oil and medical sanctions are part of it. Both Naami and Saadouni are victims of it. Assadi said that he only wanted to scare the (PMOI / MEK Iran). The materials used for the bomb prove to me that Naami and Saadouni’s work was fireworks, and if we compare this with the Brussels bombing, it was not professional at all. Their collaboration with the MOIS was not military, but political,” he said at the trial.
As the Iranian opposition (PMOI / MEK Iran) has pointed out, the claim that Saadouni and Naami had been ‘used’ by the MOIS over 11 years, the amount of money they had received showed their commitment and at any stage, they could have suspended their connection but chose to continue it, making them complicit in the crime they were committing.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) December 6, 2020
Apart from Assadi, Saadoun, and Naami, the fourth person standing trial was Arefani. Arefani has denied any involvement in the bomb attack. He claims that the phone number found on his phone was not Assadi’s, but his brother’s. The evidence linking Arefani to the bomb attack planned seems irrefutable, however, with images, documents, recordings, and typical spy devices found at his Belgian home. Then there are the large amounts of money discovered in his bank account, despite no other known method of acquiring it except Tehran.
The conclusion is that the four defendants haven’t a leg to stand on when it comes to the allegations against them. The bigger question is how or if the trial will lead to those who planned, organized, and financed it in Tehran. The Iranian resistance (PMOI / MEK Iran) has been vociferous in declaring who is really to blame for such a heinous act and have called on European governments to close down Iranian embassies and diplomatic missions, as they are bases for spies and terrorists working on behalf of the Iranian regime.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) December 6, 2020