Last week, the Belgian court trying the Iranian regime’s terrorist diplomat Assadollah Assadi announced that he would be spending 20 years in prison – the maximum sentence that prosecutors pushed for. This has been described by many as a historic verdict for several reasons – firstly, it is the first time an Iranian diplomat has been arrested and convicted for terrorist charges.
It is also a turning point in that it confirms in an official manner the institutionalized terrorist nature of the Iranian regime.
Ambassador Robert Joseph
Former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ambassador Robert Joseph spoke about the verdict last week during an online conference organized by the main opposition to the Iranian regime – the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI). He, along with several other prominent politicians and former officials, spoke about the next steps that need to be taken.
Amb. Robert Joseph emphasized that the action taken by policymakers is crucial. Concessions, he said, would “only bring further injustice to the Iranian people” and it would embolden the regime to carry out further terrorist attacks. https://t.co/Ma9F0Egdab #Iran #MEK #NCRI pic.twitter.com/njjiob5F2t
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) February 6, 2021
The consensus during the conference was that the guilty verdict was extremely positive and a great move in the right direction, but the speakers all emphasized that this is just the beginning of a long road ahead.
Ambassador Joseph said that governments in the Western world need to take decisive action and take into consideration that “further concessions to the regime will only bring more injustice to the Iranian people and more criminal and terrorist acts”.
The deliberate act of state terrorism
He started his speech by drawing on the main points and takeaways from the Belgian verdict. Ambassador Joseph said that it was concluded that the plot Assadi and his accomplices were charged with a show that was “a deliberate act of state terrorism ordered by and conducted by the Iranian regime”.
Assadi, the main defendant, turns out to be a senior official of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and was posted at the regime’s embassy in Austria where he simply posed as a diplomat.
Ambassador Joseph also emphasized the fact that Assadi was not an alone agent, rather he was working in coordination with high-level regime officials in Tehran from whom he took orders. He personally transported the professionally designed and made bomb on a commercial airline from Iran – a bomb that could have caused indescribable damage in France in June 2018 had the plot not been foiled by European authorities.
The network of agents across Europe
And next, Ambassador Joseph pointed out that Assadi was using his diplomatic status to hide his terrorist and criminal activities that allowed him to run a network of agents across Europe. The regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was complicit in this because there is no possible way it could have been unaware of Assadi’s true identity.
Western governments cannot ignore the fact that a regime official was essentially caught red-handed. And the brazen nature of this activity should shock policymakers into action. Ambassador Joseph recommended that the European Union takes firm action, including designating the regime’s IRGC and MOIS as terrorist identities and “withdrawing the legal status of all of the regime’s agents in Europe”. He also said that until the regime proves it is committed to relinquishing its terrorist activities, diplomatic relations should be drastically reduced.