The trial of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi and his three co-conspirators for the attempted bombing of the 2018 Free Iran rally in Paris began on Friday. Many people believe this trial should shine a light on terrorism as a whole, especially the role played by Iran’s embassies and diplomats.
The Belgian court is expected to sentence the four defendants to prison before the end of December, in what would be a happy new year for all. However, Assadi is far from the first Iranian diplomat to be responsible for terrorism in Europe, he’s just the first to be held to account. This trial should be a wake-up call for Western powers about the dangerousness of trusting Iran’s diplomacy.
The politicians across Europe must concede now that comprehensive changes are needed. The changes maybe include the closure of the Iranian embassies and multilateral sanctions and travel bans against leading officials, like Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
This would acknowledge that the international community’s assessment of Zarif as a ‘moderate’ was incorrect. Nonetheless, this truth can be clearly seen in his praise for the most violent officials, institutions, and policies, as well as his long history of carrying out and covering up acts of terrorism by his government and its proxies.
Case in point, Zarif called it a “great honor” to visit the headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), tour the facility, and meet with high-ranking officers just after the United States designated the IRGC as a terrorist entity.
Furthermore, he has frequently bragged about his collaborative relationship with the former chief of the Quds Force (IRGC-QF) Qassem Soleimani, also designated a terrorist and killed by the U.S. in January 2020.
“The developments like the Assadi terror trial reveal that Zarif is in a position to play a very substantial role in the perpetration of other such acts on foreign soil,” the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) wrote.
The bomb plot would have endangered the lives of the 100,000 attendees of the Free Iran rally in Paris, including hundreds of dignitaries from across Europe, North America, and the Middle East, who would have been collateral damage if the plot to murder the NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi had worked.
Now, we know that Assadi smuggled the bomb into Europe on a diplomatic passport and handed it over to his hired terrorists in Luxembourg – where he does not have diplomatic immunity.
This makes it imperative to implicate the Foreign Ministry because there are multiple accounts of thwarted terrorist plots on European soil, just like this one, involving Iranian diplomats. Assadi is just the only one brought to trial. Each case shows evidence that is enough to expel diplomats from France, Albania, and the Netherlands. How is this not evidence enough of Zarif’s support for terrorism?
Europe’s failure to hold Zarif to account means they are “courting peril” from a system desperate to “project strength” and “damage organized opposition”.
“Zarif’s responsibilities have expanded greatly over more than three decades, but his role has remained much the same. As awareness about Iranian terrorism grows in the wake of the Belgian court case, the regime’s Foreign Minister will surely take the lead in denying, downplaying, and justifying his own diplomat’s crimes,” the NCRI wrote.
“Before December is over, the international community will have to push his protests aside in order to hold the four aspiring terrorists accountable. Zarif himself should also be held to account not just for the 2018 plot but also for his general complicity with decades of Iranian terrorism,” the Iranian opposition added.