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Diplomatic Terrorism, Anatomy of Iran’s State Terror

“Diplomatic Terrorism, Anatomy of Iran’s State Terror” is the title of a book published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) about Iran’s state terror and the case of Assadolah Assadi.
Assadollah Assadi was the first-ever serving Iranian diplomat to be detained, investigated, tried, convicted, and imprisoned after he plotted to blow up thousands of participants in the Iranian Resistance’s annual Free Iran World Summit in Villepinte, France, where Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran was speaking, along with hundreds of political dignitaries from across the globe.

Some information about the Book:

ISBN-10: 1-7396173-3-9 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-7396173-3-2 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-7396173-2-0 (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-1-7396173-2-5 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-7396173-4-7 (eBook)
ISBN-13: 978-1-7396173-4-9 (eBook)

Foreword by Tom Ridge First US Secretary of Homeland Security (2003 to 2005)

When I began serving as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security in 2001 under the George W. Bush administration, America’s attention had just been captured by the perverted interpretation of Islam that reared its ugly head to inspire the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.

But that beast had already been out of the cage in Iran since 1979, slowly but surely killing and intimidating the Iranian people and causing greater oppression and suffering for them and other peoples in the region. It was Tehran’s model of pseudo-religious, fascist state power that inspired the September 11 terrorists, to whom Tehran gave sanctuary, funds, and encouragement before and after the attacks, up to this day, as confirmed by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

This well-researched book is about a foiled, state-instigated terrorist attack at the annual gathering of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), on June 30, 2018, near Paris. I had personally attended the NCRI’s annual gathering several times. The 2018 event was attended by almost 100,000 participants in the span of 10 hours and hundreds of political dignitaries from around the world. Had the terrorist plot succeeded, it would have certainly been the deadliest terrorist incident in Europe. Despite the severity of the plot and the court’s definitive conclusion that it was an act of state terrorism, Western governments, especially in Europe, failed to take appropriate political measures to punish and dissuade the actual decision-makers behind the crime. Even more disturbing is the decision by the government of Belgium in early 2022 to sign a treaty clearly designed to justify releasing the ringleader of the terrorist plot with those who ordered the bombing of the peaceful rally in Villepinte.

The struggle against terrorism emanating from Tehran’s rulers, however, cannot be understood if the wider struggle for the heart of Islam and the larger political struggle between the ideas of the MEK and the regime is not understood. Islam, like all great religions, has been abused by a caste of professional preachers and clerics who rode into power on the coattails of Ruhollah Khomeini and established a religious-fascistic state model that abuses popular rage against historic grievances and modern contradictions while expanding control of all aspects of life under its rule through terror, intimidation, and coercion to remain in power, all while claiming religious piety. The emergence of Khomeini and his fundamentalist and clearly violent and backward brand of Islam is a direct consequence of the tyranny of the Pahlavi monarchy that ruled Iran for more than fifty years. The Shah systematically destroyed all democratic forces, executing and imprisoning many, including MEK founders and leaders. The resulting political vacuum gave Khomeini and his network of mullahs a path to hijack the essentially freedom-seeking movement and to establish an extremist regime.

This struggle spearheaded by the MEK against the virulent and backward ideas of Khomeini and his successors defines the future of not only Shia Islam and Iran but also of the terrorist threat that the Iranian regime perpetuates and nurtures against the West and of course, its own people and the region.

To defeat Iranian state terrorism, we cannot but help to get to the crux of the matter, the heart of the octopus that beats in the halls of power in Tehran. Therein lies the engine for hate, terrorism, murder, and destruction that threatens our values of democracy, freedom, separation of church and state, gender equality, the sovereignty of free peoples, and the progress and prosperity that we in the West have so long enjoyed.

This book is an excellent study of one of the most intricate and sophisticated terrorist attacks by the Iranian regime that could have been one of the deadliest to date on European soil, against precisely that potent foe in the Iranian Resistance that spells its end.
I recommend this book to everyone interested in learning the depths to which the Iranian regime will go to extinguish the hope for change and freedom and modernity in Iran and by extension, to defeat the values for which modern humanity has fought so hard to enshrine in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our own US Constitution, and other modern instruments of human progress and prosperity.

We, freedom-loving peoples who cherish the human journey from coercion to liberty throughout human history, are in this together. We, who wish for the full blossoming of our potential to change the world for the better, should understand the enemies of our values and our freedoms. Today, there is no more dangerous enemy to human progress and liberty than the Iranian regime, with its malign and destructive role and the ideas that underpin it. This book on the most important terrorism case in Europe, hatched, directed, and carried out by the Iranian regime’s senior leadership, will certainly help to further our understanding.

Finally, the terrorist plot against the MEK and NCRI in the heart of Europe demonstrates the extent to which the regime is terrified of the democratic alternative to its rule. This book is a reminder to all policymakers in Europe and North America that attention to the desire of the Iranian people and the organized resistance has been a missing factor in their policies vis-à-vis Iran for over four decades.
A new policy is long overdue.

Tom Ridge First US Secretary of Homeland Security (2003 to 2005) Erie, Pennsylvania, August 2022

 

PREFACE

When in July 2018, German security services and law enforcement agencies, in a joint operation with their Belgian and French counterparts, arrested a sitting Iranian diplomat serving in Vienna, en route to Austria, for planning and directing the attempted bombing of a huge exposition hall in Villepinte, France, it immediately sent shock waves through the world. The target was the site of the annual Free Iran World Summit, which was attended by Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of NCRI, the principal opposition to the regime, hundreds of world political leaders and dignitaries, and a huge attendance of Iranian dissidents.

The Iranian regime’s president and foreign minister denied culpability, but the trial and conviction of the Iranian regime’s diplomat for plotting to commit terrorist murder proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Iran’s Foreign Ministry, hand in glove with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, had abused diplomatic cover to launch what could have been one of the deadliest attacks on European soil, targeting Mrs. Rajavi, and many other individuals in Villepinte.

This episode in the Iranian regime’s desperate, four decades bid to shut down its formidable opposition brings to light all the varied elements of the ruling theocracy’s extraterritorial terrorist operation, including decision making, targeting, tactics, funding, and spy craft.

This case is unique in that European security services were able to interdict and interrupt a very deadly terrorist operation. The successful investigation, trial, and conviction of the four terrorists, including the Vienna-based diplomat, brought to light many realities about how the regime uses terrorism and how Europe’s political leadership, instead of building on the successes of its security and judicial services, squanders it by appeasing the rogue state sponsor of terrorism in Iran, thereby ensuring the perpetuation of Iran’s state terrorism.

In preparing this book, a large portion of available pages of the Assadi case documents have been meticulously reviewed, thousands of pages of news have been analyzed, hundreds of interviews have been conducted, and all sources have been verified. However, many aspects of this and other instances of Iranian state terrorism against the opposition remain underresearched and uncovered.

This is demonstrated, for example, by the lack of sufficient attention and research into the decision to commit this terrorist crime at Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), headed by Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s president at the time, and his foreign minister, Javad Zarif, demonstrating the engagement of the entirety of the regime in such acts. This is attested to by the role and undertakings of Saeid Hashemi.

Moghadam. Hashemi Moghadam was a deputy to Iran’s Intelligence Minister and a liaison with European intelligence services, well known to them. In the aftermath of the foiled Villepinte terrorist operation, he was named as the commander of the plot and was designated as a terrorist by the European Union.

Another important issue is the significant amount of information and intelligence leads gleaned from Assadi’s documents and notebooks that showed the extent of the Iranian regime’s terrorist network in Europe and its direct link to the regime’s embassies. The court handling Assadi’s case concluded that he had been running a network of agents in Europe. The evidence showed that such a network went far beyond the three agents arrested and convicted in this case. This information has not been publicly divulged, and intelligence agents involved in this network have not been expelled or faced the consequences, as called for by the Iranian Resistance. Who has replaced Assadi to run the network? Why have European governments kept silent on this issue? And many other lingering questions require political decisions to inform the public and to take necessary action.

Despite the outstanding questions, this book focuses on a solid body of established facts to show the totality and anatomy of a horrific act of state terrorism by the Iranian regime.
We would like to acknowledge the selfless work of a network of Iranian MEK dissidents inside Iran who worked tirelessly in dangerous circumstances to corroborate the facts. We would also like to thank the Belgian, German, and French security services, law enforcement, and judiciary for their professional and diligent work to uncover and bring this case to trial and conviction. Were it not for their work, yet another terrorist plot by the Iranian regime would have been swept under the carpet by a political establishment that has appeased the religious dictatorship in Iran for far too long.

We hope that the publication of this book will enlighten students of Iranian affairs about the way in which the regime in Tehran uses every means at its disposal, including its diplomatic representatives, to carry out its terrorist missions abroad against Iranian dissidents and others.

Finally, we hope that this book will be a reminder to policymakers throughout the world that making concessions to the Iranian regime’s state terrorism or merely remaining silent on the topic will only enable more of the same.

 

INTRODUCTION

Assadollah Assadi became the first-ever serving Iranian diplomat to be detained, investigated, tried, convicted, and imprisoned after he plotted to blow up thousands of participants in the Iranian Resistance’s annual Free Iran World Summit in Villepinte, France, where Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran was speaking, along with hundreds of political dignitaries from across the globe.

In late February 2022, authorities in Iran detained a Belgian aid worker, and this time, it was Belgium’s turn to be blackmailed with yet another hostage-taking by a regime that for over 40 years has taken advantage of Western appeasement to further its illegal and murderous ways. Hostages are the Iranian regime’s leverage to set Assadi free and return him to Iran, from where he had set out in late June of 2018 with a highly sophisticated and lethal explosive device in his diplomatic pouch. Assadi and his paymasters in Iranian intelligence didn’t think twice about moving the bomb to Vienna on a commercial passenger jet.

The fact that Assadi was under close surveillance and caught red-handed delivering the bomb to his accomplices in a Luxembourg Pizza Hut does not bother the Iranian regime. To them, Assadi is a hero diplomat carrying out his “duties,” albeit in direct contravention of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and international law.

This case highlights the close cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in terrorist activities in Europe.

After the February hostage-taking of the Belgium national in Iran, the regime clearly communicated back-channel messages to Belgium, and the two parties secretly signed a prisoner-exchange treaty on March 11.

The first public unveiling of this “pact with the devil” came when Belgium’s justice minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, urgently presented a bill to the Belgian Parliament on June 29, which sought ratification for the treaty with Iran by sandwiching it between two other prisoner exchange treaties. He would later defend the unsavory bill by meekly offering, “Iran is a rogue state, but we don’t choose to whom we talk.” He emphasized that freeing the Belgian was “our priority.”

If Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and his justice minister had had their way, the bill would have been enacted four business days later.

But members of Parliament, including some in the government coalition, strongly criticized the treaty. Simultaneously, the Iranian Resistance condemned the possibility of releasing Assadi back to Iran and called for action to prevent it. This call galvanized opposition to the shameful bill among Iranians, in the Belgium Parliament, in the press, and in the court of public opinion.

Those opponents argued that by backing down in the face of Iran’s blackmail would endanger the security of European citizens and Iranian dissidents alike and embolden ever more hostage-taking and terrorism. This campaign led to the debate on the treaty that continued for over two more weeks.

The treaty’s ratification was expected by July 4, but it was ultimately ratified over two weeks later, early on July 21. The NCRI, its president-elect, and a group of potential victims of Assadi’s terrorist plot, however, have launched a legal challenge to the government’s bid to free a convicted terrorist. That challenge has yet to be heard and settled. In the meantime, a court injunction is in place barring Assadi’s release until the court decides on the case after hearing from the two parties.

The first three chapters of this book cover, in minute detail, the hatching of the terrorist plot, its painstaking execution from Tehran to Vienna to Luxembourg to Belgium to France, the intelligence tip leading to the surveillance, the importance of the 2018 Free Iran World Summit as a target for Tehran, the consequence of an attack on the main protagonist, the four members of the terrorist cell, including the ringleader, the regime’s “swallow,” the sleeper cell, and the mule.

Chapter four discusses Iran’s state terrorism, and chapter five details its extensive terrorist network in Europe, as revealed by Assadi’s “green book.” The judicial proceedings and court conviction of the terrorist ring is covered in chapter six, with the court judgment presented in chapter seven. In chapter eight, we turn to the West’s failing to politically address the Iranian regime’s flagrant violation of EU and international law. Finally, chapter nine discusses the Belgian treaty with the Iranian regime and the consequences of it paving the way for a convicted terrorist to be sent back to Iran.

 

Back Cover Reviews

NEWT GINGRICH

50th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

The Iranian dictatorship’s terrorism has menaced its opponents in the region and the entire free world for more than 40 years. THIS BOOK CLEARLY AND CONCISELY ILLUSTRATES THE HORROR OF IRAN’S STATE TERRORISM. It also reflects deeply on the bravery and steadfast character of dictatorship’s democratic opposition, the MEK and NCRI, that have defended human rights, democracy, and freedom in Iran.

Michael Mukasey

81st United States Attorney General

One thing is certain. If Iran’s diplomat in Vienna and his three accomplices had succeeded in their terrorist plot to bomb NCRI’s Free Iran Summit in 2018 in Villepinte, France, several of my friends and former colleagues in government, and hundreds of others, would not be alive to read about the foiled plot today. Indeed, had I been able to attend that conference, as I had earlier ones and as I planned, I would not. This is a gripping story of espionage and terrorism by a ruthless regime, foiled through the resourcefulness of Belgian, German, and French police. THIS CRIME DRAMATICALLY ILLUSTRATES THE LENGTHS TO WHICH THE REGIME WILL GO TO OPPOSE THE GROUP IT MOST FEARS, MEK.

 

GIULIO TERZI

Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs (2011-2013)

The Iranian regime has perfected the use of state terrorism in furtherance of its mafia-like objectives, both foreign and domestic. THIS BOOK SERVES AS A LESSON FOR EUROPE AND THE FREE WORLD TO TAKE A FIRM LINE AGAINST THIS REGIME in deference to the reality of its untamable nature and the viable political alternative of the NCRI that shares democratic values.