On February 4, a court in Antwerp, Belgium handed down its verdict in the case of Iran’s incarcerated diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi and his three accomplices for trying to bomb the Iranian Resistance’s 2018 Free Iran gathering in Paris. Assadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while the three other terrorists, Nasimeh Naami, Mehrdad Arefani, and Amir Saadouni, were sentenced to 18, 17, and 15 years in prison, respectively.
This verdict was announced after two-and-a-half years of investigation by the Belgian judiciary and a severe political-legal struggle between the Iranian Resistance and the mullahs’ regime.
Throughout this process, the clerical regime tried to imply that Assadi had diplomatic immunity based on the 1961 Vienna Convention. It hoped to save the head of its network of terrorism in Europe from conviction.
The regime tried to save Assadi by hook or by crook: it spent huge amounts of money, activated its network of lobbyists, and hired the most expensive lawyers. Finally, the regime went as far as threatening Belgium with possible terrorist attacks, through Assadi himself. But ultimately the court issued its verdict, and the Iranian Resistance achieved an enormous victory in this intensive campaign.
This victory left no option for the spokesperson of the regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saeid Khatibzadeh, but to complain about the court’s outcome, after several hours of delay.
“Unfortunately, Belgium and some other European countries committed such an illegal and unjustifiable action under the influence of the hostile atmosphere of the MEK [People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran] in Europe,” Khatibzadeh said on February 4.
The trial of Assadi and his accomplices was in fact the trial of the entire mullahs’ regime and all its faction. Assadi’s lawyer confirmed this fact by complaining to the court that “my client feels it is his government which is being tried, not himself.”
Also, Jaak Raes, head of Belgium’s state security service (VSSE), in a letter to the prosecutor dated Feb. 2, 2020, said: “The attack plan was conceived in the name of Iran and under its leadership. It was not a personal initiative by Assadi,”
The verdict of Antwerp’s court and the conviction of one of the Iranian regime’s on-duty diplomats has several political and strategic consequences:
– This verdict ended this false and hollow notion that terrorism is limited to some “rogue” elements or factions of the regime. It demonstrated the close collaboration between the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thus, it became clear that the entire regime, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the so-called “moderate” government of Hassan Rouhani, and the MOIS, are generally involved in terrorism and particularly in the 2018 bomb plot, under the supervision of the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
– The regime’s blackmailing strategy and terrorism received a major political and technical blow. From a technical point of view, the vast network that Assadi had created in Europe using very high costs of assets plundered from the deprived people of Iran has now been exposed. Now Western countries, mainly Europe, should take the next step in dismantling this network. The only way to deter the regime’s extortion and hostage-taking policy is standing firm against these actions, not appeasing the regime or retreating in its face.
– In a situation where the clerical regime and supporters of the appeasement policy were dreaming of a new era of the appeasement policy with the new administration taking power in the United States, the court’s ruling showed terrorism is institutionalized in the regime. Therefore, neglecting this issue and any attempt to get closer to the regime will be in service to more terrorism by the regime and a disgrace.
– The court ruling also disgraced the regime’s demonizing campaign against the MEK using the network of the MOIS and huge funds that the MOIS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had allocated to this campaign. It became clear that no one lashes out at the MEK and the Iranian Resistance leadership unless they have an underlying motive. The true motive for these hysterical attacks is hundreds of thousands of dollars and euros that Assadi paid to these agents during his trips to various European countries.
When the documents of payments were presented during the court session in Antwerp, the judges concluded that Assadi is a high-ranking intelligence officer, who runs a huge terrorist network in Europe under diplomatic cover.
With the court ruling and the conviction of the clerical regime’s diplomat-terrorist, the judicial process and the work of the Belgian Judiciary has ended, confirming the Iranian regime’s state-sponsored terrorism. It is now time for Western governments to use this momentum to take a firm stand against the Iranian regime’s unbridled terrorism.
As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has said: “The time has come for the European Union to take action. Silence and inaction under whatever pretext will only embolden the mullahs’ regime to continue its crimes and terrorism. The Iranian people expect that the EU revises its Iran policy and hold ruling theocracy accountable.”
The undeniable evidence confirms that Zarif, Europe’s negotiating interlocutor, not only was involved in the decision-making process of the 2018 bomb plot as a member of the regime’s Supreme Security Council, but his diplomat acted as the field commander and his ministry provided all the facilities for the terrorists to carry out this operation.
The time has come for the European Union to end the disgrace of negotiating with an individual who was involved in attempting to murder Iranian dissidents and European citizens.
The regime’s embassies should be closed across Europe, and the regime’s agents, under any name and title, should be expelled. This is the only way to counter the clerical regime’s terrorism.