By Staff Writer
Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran’s intentions became very clear when it initiated plans to carry out a terrorist attack in France.
Two Belgian nationals of Iranian descent were arrested by Belgian police just ahead of the Free Iran gathering that took place on 30th June just outside Paris. The couple were in possession of half a kilogram of explosives and had a detonator. It was discovered that they were on their way to the Free Iran event that is attended by officials from all over the world, including notable guests from the United States including President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and former speaker Newt Gingrich.
The couple is still being held in Belgium.
The next day, Assadollah Assadi, the third ranking diplomat in Iran’s embassy in Vienna, was arrested by German authorities. He was on his way back to Austria where he has diplomatic immunity. Assadi had ordered the couple to carry out the terrorist attack and had provided them with the bomb.
The U.S. Secretary of State said that this failed plot serves as enough to justify the Trump administration’s approach to Iran including the sanctions that have been re-imposed. Pompeo said that the plot proves that Iran is continuing to support terrorism in Europe.
Assadi was a member of Iran’s intelligence agency – the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The German federal prosecutor said that Assadi’s role within the MOIS was to observe and combat opposition groups inside and outside of Iran.
Germany has decided to extradite the Iranian diplomat and Pompeo said he supported the move. “The scale of this plot, which involved arrests of numerous suspects across Europe – including in Belgium, France and Germany – reminds us that Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. We support our European allies in exposing and countering the threat that Iranian-backed terrorism poses around the world.”
A report compiled by the Trump administration in the midst of its push to increase pressure on Iran during the recent UN General Assembly in New York states that Iran is continuing to support terrorism across the world. It said that the “pace of these activities indicates that Iran remains committed to using terrorism to achieve its objectives and is confident in its ability to operate anywhere in the world”. It points out that there have been a number of arrests and raids related to Iranian officials in Bosnia, Turkey, Germany and Bulgaria.
Officials in the State Department have indicated that the report was compiled partly to justify Trump’s recent actions with regards to Iran, in particular with regards to the re-imposition of nuclear-related sanctions following the criticism he received after pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.
At the beginning of next month, the sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas sector are set to take effect. These are harsher than the ones that have just taken effect and it is certain that the regime will not be able to circumvent these sanctions.