By Pooya Stone
The trial of the Iranian diplomat who tried to blow up the 2018 Free Iran rally in Paris, which was attended by 100,000 people, and three of his accomplices began today in Belgium.
Assadollah Assadi, who was stationed at the Iranian embassy in Vienna when he planned the attack, will be the first diplomat in Europe to be tried for direct involvement in terrorism.
Assadi, a senior official of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), has been in police custody for two years, having been caught shortly after he handed over the powerful TATP bomb in Luxembourg to the terrorists - Amir Saadouni and Nasimeh Naami - to plant the bomb at the rally.
The plot was thwarted by European authorities. Saadouni and Naami were arrested in Belgium on June 30 with the bomb in their car, with the third accomplice - Mehrdad Arefani - being arrested in Paris. Assadi was arrested in Germany on July 1 and handed over to the Belgian authorities.
“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,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement in 2018.
The regime planned this attack because they were angry over growing support for the Iranian Resistance, which had led to the 2016 relocation of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK / PMOI) to Albania for their safety, as well as the December 2017-January 2018 uprisings. Thus, they decided to assassinate opposition leader Maryam Rajavi and a whole host of dignitaries.
This came just three months after a failed attack on the MEK in Albania, which led to Albania expelling the regime’s ambassador and three other diplomats.
Since then, the regime has tried to secure Assadi’s release using diplomatic pressure, bribes, taking European hostage, and terrorist threats. All have failed.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Resistance presented documents proving that this plot was approved by the Supreme National Security Council, which is headed by President Hassan Rouhani, under the direct order of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. They said that Khamenei, Rouhani, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi should also be prosecuted.
The NCRI, MEK, and several of those personalities in attendance at the 2018 rally have filed civil lawsuits against the regime, including:
- Former Algerian Prime Minister Syed Ahmad Ghozali
- US Senator Robert Torricelli
- Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi
- Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt
- Former head of France’s domestic Intelligence Agency Yves Bonnet
- British MPs Bob Blackman and Roger Godsiff
- Former UNAMI Human Rights office chief in Iraq Tahar Boumedra
- Former Italian lawmaker Elisabetta Zamparutti