by Azita Carlson
Every year, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) holds a “Free Iran” rally in Paris. It is traditionally attended by tens of thousands of Iranians from all over the world and hundreds of international politicians, officials, former officials, human rights activists, lawmakers and dignitaries. Every year the rally gets bigger and the support for the main opposition to the Iranian regime grows.
The Iranian regime sees the main opposition as a major threat. And for good reason. The NCRI values all of the things that the Iranian regime does not – human rights, freedom, democracy, equality, and so on.
At the NCRI’s rally on Saturday 30th June, it has been found out that an Iranian diplomat was planning on setting a bomb off. Prosecutors in Germany formally charged the diplomat earlier this week. There were dozens of former U.S. officials at the event, including Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and current attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump.
The investigation started towards the end of June. A Belgian couple of Iranian descent was arrested by Belgian police after being stopped on the border with Luxembourg. It is said that there are at least five countries involved in the investigation. The couple had in their possession 500 grams of explosives known as triacetone triperoxide, or TATP. This type of explosive is commonly used by terrorists. It has been described as a very powerful homemade explosive.
According to prosecutors, the couple are from Antwerp and were apparently on their way back to Belgium after meeting with an Iranian diplomat in Luxembourg. The diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, has been under surveillance and German prosecutors say he has lived in Vienna undercover for the past 14 years as an intelligence operative. His assignments mainly involve “intense observation and combating of opposition groups inside and outside of Iran”.
The German prosecutors said that Assadollah Assadi provided the Belgian couple with the TATP explosives and instructed them to carry out the attack on the NCRI. Assadi was on his way back to Austria when he was arrested in Germany.
An unnamed Belgian official said that the complex investigation involves numerous different agencies that are working together. The meeting in Luxembourg was put under surveillance and the different agencies worked together to piece together the bomb plot.
It is understood that authorities from Albania, as well as from France, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium have been cooperating. Albania is home to a large number of Iranian dissidents who were welcomed there by the Albanian government when they were finally released from Camp Ashraf in Iraq after being detained there for many years by the Iranian regime.
It is uncertain if Assadi was acting under the authority or instructions of the Iranian government. Iran is desperately trying to keep the 2015 nuclear agreement in tact after the announcement in May that the United States was exiting. The Iranian government is keen to keep the benefits of the nuclear deal in place, but it has been involved in numerous terrorist attacks during the eighties and nineties. It is for this reason that the Iranian government’s involvement cannot be ruled out.