Following the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, the Iranian regime launched a new wave of terrorist actions against Iranian dissidents.
- Since the second half of 2015, several Iranian dissidents have been the target of assassination or kidnapped by the Iranian regime, including in the Netherlands, Denmark, Turkey, Iraq, UAE.
- In most cases, Iranian embassies were one way or the other involved. One such assassination was thwarted in Denmark. According to Danish media, the country’s law enforcement obtained a list at the Iranian embassy that included the names of a number of Iranian dissidents who must be assassinated.
- In March 2018, the Iranian regime plotted to bomb a New Year gathering of the Iranian opposition in Albania with an explosive-packed truck. This plot was thwarted by the Albanian police. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, Rudy Giuliani and a US embassy official in Tirana, and a number of Albanian officials and politicians were present at this gathering.
- On June 30, 2018, the regime sought to implement a bombing plot against an international gathering attended by high-profile personalities from 60 countries around the world. An Iranian regime diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, was arrested along with three accomplices by police authorities in Germany, Belgium, and France. In 2017, Assadi had personally visited the venue of the annual opposition gathering to collect intelligence.
These terrorist actions in Europe, especially the bombing plot against the June 30, 2018 gathering in the Paris suburb of Villepinte, would not have been possible without the direct involvement and use of the diplomatic resources of the regime’s Foreign Ministry. This was a joint operation by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Iranian regime’s Foreign Ministry.
Tehran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, is a member of the Supreme National Security Council, which had approved the decision to carry out the 2018 Paris bomb plot. Assadollah Assadi is a Foreign Ministry official who simultaneously worked for the MOIS. The terrorist plot and the dual roles of Assadi demonstrate the close collaboration between the MOIS and the Foreign Ministry. Such coordination takes place at the highest levels between the regime’s Foreign Minister Zarif and its Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, under the supervision of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
This report identifies some of the most important agents of the MOIS and Foreign Ministry who were involved in the two terror plots in 2018.
Intelligence agents related to the Villepinte terrorist case being investigated in Belgium
1. Seyyed Mahmoud Alavi, Minister of Intelligence (2013-present)
Mahmoud Alavi has been the regime’s Minister of Intelligence since 2013, and all of the terrorist operations abroad, including the terrorist plots of March and June 2018 were carried out under his supervision. The Intelligence Minister is one of the permanent members of the regime’s Supreme National Security Council, which approved terrorist plots. Alavi was born in 1954 in Lamerd city in Fars Province. He has occupied various other posts within the clerical regime.
2. Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs
In the terrorist plots both in Albania and Villepinte, Paris, the commanders, Mostafa Roudaki and Assadollah Assadi, respectively, were diplomats of the regime’s Foreign Ministry. During the decision-making process at the Supreme National Security Council, Zarif was directly aware of the two plots and his diplomats were directly involved in the terrorist operations. Moreover, the embassies under the supervision of the Foreign Minister provided logistical support for the execution of these two plots.
In an interview with the regime’s Press TV on August 21, 2019, Zarif referred to protesters who had demanded his expulsion from Sweden and said: “These individuals who are standing outside, ask them to participate in any meeting of Iranians, and see if they can still be alive. They won’t be alive for a minute.” He added: “They cannot even operate in Iraq because the people of Iraq would eat them alive.”
On September 2, 2019, Zarif kowtowed to the now-eliminated criminal commander of the terrorist Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani, and said: “Commander Soleimani and I have never been at odds with each other. We have been closely working together for over 20 years.” Zarif added: “During the US attack on Iraq, when I was serving as Iran’s representative [to the UN] in New York, on the orders of the country’s senior officials I talked to American officials, and I had the highest level of coordination
with Commander Soleimani. … After that, too, during the time I served as the minister, Commander Soleimani and I decided to meet at least on a weekly basis whenever we were both in Tehran in order to examine the latest developments and make the necessary arrangements for coordination.” During this interview, Zarif also referred to the support he enjoyed from Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Soleimani in order to boost his credibility.
On May 14, 2016, Zarif sent a message to Nasrallah saying: “In the Name of God, the Compassionate and the Merciful, my dear brother Mr. Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, I send my greetings and prayers. On the occasion of the martyrdom of the great warrior, Mostafa Badroddin, who was all about love, passion, and an epic in the defense of the just ideals of Islam, the persevering people of Lebanon and the struggle against oppression, injustice, and terrorism, I send my congratulations and condolences to your Excellency, the respected family of that martyr, and the persevering and understanding nation of Lebanon, which reared such great men in the framework of Islam and presented them to resistance, freedom-seeking, and struggle against oppression.”
Seyyed Mostafa Badroddin, also known as Seyyed Zolfaghar, was the commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah’s armed wing, who was considered in a way to be the successor of Imad Mughniyeh, who was eliminated in an explosion near the Damascus International Airport.
After the elimination of Soleimani, Zarif said: “Martyr Soleimani destroyed what was built by the US. The pure blood of Commander Soleimani will certainly strengthen the tree of resistance…. This [elimination] was an act of state terrorism.”
Zarif also paid his respects to the terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh by visiting his grave and laying a wreath of flowers on it.
In February 2019, Zarif met with Nasrallah and ensured him that the regime will continue to support Hezbollah. Nasrallah reciprocated by expressing Hezbollah’s support for Zarif after the latter’s name was placed on a US sanctions list.
3. Reza Amiri-Moqaddam, Deputy Intelligence Minister and Head of the “Foreign Intelligence and Movements Department”
Reza Amiri-Moqaddam is the Deputy Intelligence Minister, and since 2005, an official in the regime’s Supreme National Security Council. He is also the current head of the Foreign Intelligence and Movements Department of the MOIS, which oversees MOIS stations in the regime’s embassies in various countries. When it comes to the terrorist plot against the opposition gathering on June 30, 2018, Amiri-Moqaddam was the overall commander. In order to execute this plot, he personally traveled to Austria and worked with Assadi on the terrorist operation. In 2008 and 2009, Amiri-Moqaddam was a member of the regime’s official delegation during negotiations between the regime and the US in Iraq, during both the first and second rounds of talks, along with Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the regime’s ambassador to Iraq, and Amir Abdollahian, the representative of the regime’s Foreign Ministry. Amiri-Moqaddam was the regime’s first representative during the third round of talks, appearing in the official role of “Director of Middle Eastern Affairs in the Supreme National Security Council.”
4. Saeed Hashemi Moqaddam, an MOIS Deputy
On October 2, 2018, the French government placed Saeed Hashemi Moqaddam on its terrorist list and froze his assets due to his role as the commander of the Villepinte terrorist plot. The French government described Hashemi Moqaddam’s role as the Deputy Minister and Director General of Intelligence. On January 8, 2019, the European Union placed him on its terrorist list.
5. Assadollah Assadi, MOIS Station Chief in Europe
Assadollah Assadi is a veteran MOIS official and Station Chief of the MOIS in Austria, which is the primary base of the regime’s intelligence service in Europe. He was arrested in Germany on July 1, 2018, and later extradited to Belgium for his role in terrorist operations. He operated under the cover of the Third Counsel of the clerical regime’s embassy in Vienna. On June 28, 2018, Assadi personally delivered a high explosive device known as TATP to Luxembourg, where he handed it over to Amir Saadouni and Nasimeh Naami, in order to bomb the gathering in Villepinte. He made a quick visit to Tehran between June 19 to June 22, 2018, where he obtained the bomb and took it to Vienna on an Austrian passenger airliner. The bomb plot, which could have resulted in many deaths and injuries, was neutralized at the last minute.
6. Reza Lotfi, Head of General Office for Reviewing Reports at the Foreign Ministry
Reza Lotfi is the Director of the General Office for Reviewing Reports, which is a section of the Foreign Intelligence and Movements Department of the MOIS stationed at the regime’s Foreign Ministry. MOIS stations in the regime’s embassies abroad and the regime’s intelligence officers abroad are overseen by him, including Assadollah Assadi, the MOIS station chief in Europe. According to evidence included in the legal case in Belgium, in 2019, “Gholam-Reza Lotfi” traveled to the Belgian prison where Assadi is being held in order to meet with him.
Intelligence agents related to the terrorist case in Albania
7. Gholam-Hossein Mohammadnia, Director of the International General Office of the MOIS and Former Ambassador to Albania
On December 19, 2018, Albania’s Foreign Ministry announced that it has expelled the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran and another diplomat for “activities damaging the national security” of the country. Albanian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Edlira Prendi, announced the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats from the country and said “the activities of these two diplomats violate diplomatic protocols” and Tirana “has decided to deem them as “persona non grata” after consultations with its allies.”
Subsequently, John Bolton, the then-US National Security Adviser, tweeted: “Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated.” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also commended the Albanian Prime Minister’s decision of expelling “two Iranian agents who plotted terrorist attacks in #Albania.” In an official letter to the Albanian Prime Minister, American President Donald Trump congratulated the Albanian government on its decision.
Mohammadnia was appointed as the regime’s ambassador to Albania on August 28, 2016, during a meeting with the mullahs’ president Hassan Rouhani.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in a report in September 2018: “Gholam-Hossein Mohammadnia, the Director of International Affairs at the MOIS and a member of the regime’s delegation during the nuclear talks with the P5+1, was appointed as the regime’s ambassador to Albania in 2016. A such, the embassy came under the increasing control of the Iranian regime’s intelligence service officers.”
8. Mostafa Roudaki, MOIS Station Chief in Albania
Mostafa Roudaki was the MOIS Station Chief in Austria until the end of 2014. He was relocated to Albania by the end of 2017 to replace Fereydoun Zandi Aliabadi as the MOIS Station Chief in the regime’s embassy there. In December 2018, Roudaki was expelled by the Albanian government for his terrorist activities. In a statement on February 5, 2018, the Security and Antiterrorism Committee of the NCRI exposed Roudaki’s identity and said: “Following the mullahs’ regime efforts against the PMOI/MEK in Albania, and deployment of intelligence and Quds Force agents to this country, the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) appointed Mostafa Roudaki, a veteran agent of MOIS, as the first secretary of the regime’s embassy in Albania.”