On February 4, Iran’s incarcerated diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi and his three co-conspirators will hear a Belgian court’s verdict for their attempt to bomb the Iranian opposition rally in 2018 in Paris. Assadi’s arrest and his trial alone marked a historic legal procedure in Europe and could be a starting point to counter the regime’s decades of terrorism. Assadi’s trial could be a turning point in Iran-Europe relations.
Since its foundation in 1979, terrorism has been part and parcel of the mullahs’ regime. The regime has used its diplomatic missions and so-called diplomats to assassinate opposition figures since the 1980s in Europe. The assassination of Prof. Kazem Rajavi, the Iranian Resistance’s representative in Switzerland, is one example of assassinations carried out by the regime’s terrorists who had traveled to Europe using diplomatic passports.
However, Assadi’s case stands out. Prior to his arrest, Assadi was the third secretary of the regime’s embassy in Vienna. A “wealth of evidence,” as the media call it, was found in Assadi’s car at the time of his arrest in Germany on July 1, 2018. The pieces of evidence include two green and black notebooks. The black notebook contained information about the bomb plot. The green notebook had information about Assadi’s travels to 11 European countries, including Germany and France, and his meetings with several Iranians to whom he paid large sums of money.
The information shows he was the de-facto leader of Tehran’s large terrorism and espionage network in Europe.
Since his arrest, Assadi has refused to cooperate with Belgian authorities. He even refused to appear in court during his trial on November 27 and December 3 in Belgium. The prosecutors pointed out that the Iranian regime’s order for Assadi to not appear in the court session and answer questions indicates that the regime was behind the terrorist operation.
They also underlined that since he was working with the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), it can’t be said that this was a rogue operation by an individual, and the entire Iranian regime was behind it.
Assadi was caught red-handed days after he handed 500 grams of TATP explosives and a detonator to a terrorist couple in Luxembourg. Assadi tasked Amir Saadouni and his wife Nasimeh Naami to plant the bomb as close as possible to Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian opposition president-elect.
While Assadi was working as head of the regime’s intelligence network in Europe, his status as a “diplomat” and the role of the regime’s Foreign Ministry should not be overlooked in advancing the regime’s terrorist plots.
Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, mainly its chief Mohmmad Javad Zarif, willingly and knowingly provided diplomatic cover to Assadi, so he could complete his mission. Since Assadi’s arrest, Zarif has mobilized اhis ministry to save Assadi by insisting on Assadi’s “diplomatic immunity,” as if being a diplomat allows one to commit mass murder.
Belgian prosecutors underlined that according to Belgium’s 2002 legislation, even if Assadi had diplomatic immunity, Belgian authorities could have arrested him, adding that even according to Austrian law, Belgian authorities were entitled to arrest Assadi. Since he was planning to commit mass murder, international law allows authorities to strip Assadi of his diplomatic immunity and arrest him.
Over two years of investigation and an enormous amount of evidence suggest the 2018 bomb plot was an act of state-sponsored terrorism. The iron-clad evidence shows how the regime misused its diplomatic privileges and relations with the European countries to attempt to instigate mass murder in the heart of Europe.
As Winston Churchill once said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.” The European Union’s decades of appeasing the regime resulted in the regime’s blatant attempt to plant a bomb in the heart of Europe.
Now Assadi’s trial and his likely condemnation could be a momentum and a turning point in Europe-Iran relations.
European countries should shut down the regime’s embassies and expel the regime’s agents from their soil. This approach will certainly help prevent Tehran from spreading chaos across the world.