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Editorial: EU Punitive Action Imperative After Iran ‘Diplomat’ Terror Verdict Became Final

The Iranian regime’s diplomat terrorist Assadollah Assadi
The Iranian regime’s diplomat terrorist Assadollah Assadi

Last February marked the first time an Iranian regime official has been tried for terrorism on European soil. On Wednesday, Assadollah Assadi’s lawyer dropped an appeal against the European verdict, effectively accepting his Twenty-year sentence. The sentence is now confirmed and final. The EU and all members states must make a choice: turning a blind eye to Tehran’s use of diplomatic privileges to conduct terrorism in Europe under various pretext, including ongoing negotiation on the regime’s nuclear weapons program; or to abandon the shameful silence, strongly condemn the regime and take robust punitive actions.

In the landmark February 4 verdict, a Belgian court found Assadi, a senior Iranian “diplomat,” guilty of attempted terrorism involving a thwarted bomb attack against the annual gathering of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) near Paris in 2018.

The Belgian court definitively convicted Assadi for attempted terrorist murder and involvement in a terrorist group, rejecting his claims of diplomatic immunity. He was sentenced to a maximum legally-allowable of 20 years in prison, signaling the gravity of the allegations and preponderance of evidence against him and the regime. Assadi was the regime’s intelligence station chief in Europe and was posted at the regime’s embassy in Vienna, Austria.

The European judges ruled that three other accomplices belonged to the same spy network that was run by Assadi and covered the entire continent with sleeper and active cells.

Iran's diplomat & the largest terror plot in Europe. What was Assadollah Assadi's role

What is more, this was not a case against an individual diplomat-terrorist who acted on his own whim. Indeed, during the judicial investigations, it was determined that the bomb was constructed and tested in Tehran, placed in Assadi’s diplomatic pouch, and brought over to Vienna by Assadi personally on a routine flight. Belgium’s bomb disposal unit said the device was of professional quality and could have caused a sizable explosion and panic in the crowd of tens of thousands of Iranians and their international supporters who had gathered near Paris to call for a Free Iran in June 2018.

So, the case is made even more significant because, while the judicial scope was limited to Assadi and three of his accomplices, in reality, the entire regime was put on trial.
Several recent remarks by the regime’s top officials show how the regime’s decision-making process works.

On May 2, the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei publicly reiterated that the regime’s foreign ministry, from which Assadi received his instructions for the foiled bombing in Europe, is responsible for “executing” and not “designing” policy.

In a confidential interview that was later leaked to the press, Assadi’s ultimate handler, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, had acknowledged that since the 1979 revolution, the policies executed by the regime’s Foreign Ministry were “security-centered,” and a function or auxiliary component of the regime’s foreign meddling and export of terrorism. He, in particular, acknowledged that he was a puppet of the mullahs’ extra-territorial terrorist Quds Force and its eliminated commander Qassem Soleimani.

“Most of the ambassadors” and the entire “structure of the foreign ministry” are driven by fundamental security challenges for the regime, which includes the opposition NCRI and its impactful activities and rallies, which the regime tried to bomb.

And finally, on April 28, at a publicized cabinet meeting, the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged that the regime’s policies are ultimately decided by the Supreme National Security Council, a security forum attended by the heads of the three branches and other top officials. The body’s decisions must be ultimately approved by Khamenei himself.

The Iranian Resistance has repeatedly revealed that the regime’s terrorist operations, including the foiled bombing masterminded by Assadi and another thwarted terrorist attack against the opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Albania in 2018, were decided by the SNSC and approved by Khamenei.

Therefore, as the NCRI’s President-elect reiterated this week, following the finalization of the verdict against Assadi, “the regime’s leaders, who have been responsible for the export of terrorism for the past four decades, must be brought to justice.”

The international community has no time to waste.