Belgium charges couple over plot to attack Iranian opposition in France
An Iranian diplomat has been arrested along with two people suspected of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in France, Belgian authorities said on Monday.
US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and several former European and Arab ministers were among those attending the meeting of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
The two suspects in Belgium were intercepted by Belgian police on Saturday, with 500 grams of TATP, a home-made explosive produced of easily available chemicals, as well as a detonation device found in their car, a joint statement by the Belgian prosecutor and the intelligence services said.
Massive Iranian opposition convention in Paris
Prominent American dignitaries including Rudy Giuliani, advisor and attorney of U.S President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and a long list of former European and Arab officials were among those attending the rally held by the Iranian Diaspora in support of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Belgian police intercepted the two suspects on Saturday possessing 500 grams of TATP, a home-made explosive easily produced with available chemicals, along with a detonation device found in their Mercedez-Benz car, according to a joint statement issued by the Belgian prosecutor and the intelligence services.
The 38-year-old man, Amir Sadooni, and a 33-year-old woman, Nasimeh Nomeni, are facing charges of attempted terrorist murder and preparation of a terrorist act, the joint statement adds.
Two arrests in France and Germany are also linked to this Belgian case. The individual apprehended in Germany is a diplomat of Iran’s Vienna embassy, the Belgian statement adds.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, after traveling to Switzerland, is due to visit Austria on Wednesday.
The Iranian diplomat is suspected of being in contact with the Iranian pair in Belgium, according to the Belgian statement. No details were provided by this statement regarding the fourth suspect.
“A plot by the religious dictatorship ruling Iran to carry out a terrorist attack against the grand gathering of the Iranian Resistance in Villepinte was foiled,” Shahin Gobadi spokesman for NCRI said in a statement to the media.
Following these four arrests, Belgian authorities carried out five raids in various parts of the country. No details were provided.
Belgian prosecutors also said two other individuals were released after being questioned by French police.
Tehran’s regime has a history of attacking and plotting terrorist attacks against the NCRI andPMOI/MEK in Iraq and in Europe.
The PMOI/MEK’s bases in camp’s Ashraf and Liberty were the target of numerous ground and missile/rocket attacks for decades.
Iran also has a history of attempting to send deadly weapons, including 360mm mortar launchers and mortars confiscated in a shipyard in Belgium and explosives from Iran seized at an Italian port.
Belgium has been on high alert since a terror cell planning an attack on police was busted in the town of Verviers back in January 2015.
Belgium continues to raise its terror alert level following the November 2015 Paris attacks, going on to lockdown Brussels for a week.
Belgium then became the target of an ISIS suicide attack on Brussels airport and a metro station, which killed 32 people in March 2016. Both bombings used TATP explosives.