Global Conference: A First by a European Court: Iran Regime Diplomat-Terrorist To Be Sentenced, Time for Accountability and Firm Policy
Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat-terrorist accused of planning to bomb a meeting of the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) annual Paris rally in 2018, along with his three accomplices, have been sentenced by a Belgian court on Thursday, February 4, 2021, to prison terms.
During two-and-half years of investigation, Belgian authorities have obtained undeniable evidence revealing connections between Assadi and the three other terrorists involved in the foiled plot. Evidence indicates a terrorist couple, Amir Saadouni and Nasimeh Naami, traveled to Iran on several occasions for instructions and training by the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).
In its report on February 19, the Belgian Security Service the VSSE concluded Assadi is an MOIS security officer using diplomatic cover in the Iranian embassy in Vienna. Assadi is affiliated with “Department 312” of the MOIS and is an officer who works with human sources (spies and agents). He was the operational commander of the bomb plot against the annual rally of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Villepinte, located north of Paris. The security service identified Assadi as the agent who controlled Amir Saadouni and Nasimeh Naami and delivered the explosives to them two days prior to the operation. The attack was on behalf of Iran and was not a personal initiative of Assadi, the report highlighted.
Belgian prosecutors had demanded the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for Assadi, eighteen years for the couple and fifteen years for Merhad Arefani, the fourth suspect involved in the plot. For the trio, prosecutors also sought their Belgian nationality to be revoked. During the past two years of investigation, Arefani has constantly claimed innocence and stated that he has never known Assadi. This is while the undeniable evidence in the file reveals Arefani’s connection with the MOIS, his connection with Assadi, and his role in the attack.
The report of this online conference is as follows:
Lawyers of the Iranian resistance (NCRI) announced the decision of the court against Iran’s regime’s terror entities.
The court sentenced Assadi to 20 years in prison for his leading role in plotting a bombing attack against a rally of the Iranian Resistance in 2018. Nassimeh Naami, one of the key operatives of the plot, was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Mehrdad Arefani, a second agent, was sentenced to 17 years, and Amir Saadouni, a third agent of Assadi, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Naami, Saadouni, and Arefani, who were Belgian citizens, were stripped of their citizenship status due to their involvement in the plot. The court recognized all defendants as criminals and rejected Assadi’s claim to diplomatic immunity.
The verdict was celebrated by Iranians across the world, who have long suffered the regime’s terrorist attacks. This historic ruling is a first judicial condemnation of an Iranian regime official for terrorism in the European Union.
Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
Today’s conviction of the Iranian regime’s diplomat-terrorist confirms the Iranian regime’s state terrorism by a European judicial authority.
Iran and the rest of the world have been suffering from this terrorism in the past four decades. The intelligence and foreign ministries and the regime’s embassies were directly involved in this plot.
As I said during my seven-hour testimony, the decision for this plot was taken by the highest regime body, namely the Supreme National Security Council and approved by the mullahs’ supreme leader Ali Khamenei and the mullahs’ president Hassan Rouhani. The Ministry of Intelligence was given the task to execute the decision in close cooperation with the Foreign Ministry.
The person in charge of the plot was a sitting diplomat who had used his diplomatic status
to transfer the bomb from Iran to Austria. He was abusing his diplomatic cover in Europe
to control parts of the regime’s espionage and terrorism network.
The publication of the new evidence and details of the dossier on the diplomat-terrorist last week, confirmed the regime’s widespread planning for espionage and terrorism in Europe.
The time has come for the European Union to take action. Silence and inaction under whatever pretext will only embolden the mullahs’ regime to continue its crimes and terrorism.
The Iranian people expect that the EU revise its Iran policy and hold ruling theocracy accountable for terrorism, the flagrant violations of human rights, the massacre of political prisoners, and the mass killing of defenseless protesters.
After today’s historic verdict the Iranian people and Resistance expect EU and other European countries to undertake the following steps, which are vital to dismantling
the regime’s terrorism network in Europe:
1. Recall their ambassadors from Tehran, and shut down the regime’s embassies and centers in Europe which are used for terrorism.
The mullahs’ foreign minister must be held accountable for the confirmed role his ministry/
embassies and diplomat played in a major terrorist crime.
2. The entirety of the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC must be designated as terrorist entities. All their agents must be prosecuted and expelled from Europe.
Europe must not grant refugee-status or nationality to these agents because they use them
for terrorism and espionage.
3. Prosecute the Iranian regime’s leaders, who are responsible for these terrorist activities. They must face justice.
Any negotiations with the regime and the return to normal diplomatic-status must be conditional on dismantling the mullahs’ terrorist network in Europe.
Firmness is the correct answer to the mullahs’ blackmail and hostage-taking, otherwise they will continue this sinister policy.
Ingrid Betancourt, former Presidential Candidate of Columbia
This is a victory for all the victims of terrorism around the world. Had the plot been successful, it would have had hundreds of casualties. It is our victory, because for the first time in history a diplomat from a terrorist state has been convicted.
This is a turning point in history because justice prevailed in spite of the regime’s criminal attempts to avoid justice. This condemnation puts an end to the false narrative that the Iranian regime of the mullahs is a democracy. This judgement has shown that Iran is governed and in the hands of a terrorist organization. It has demonstrated that those who planned to kill us were not isolated lunatics but loyal servants of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The sheer madness to kill thousands of civilians shows the fear of the regime of being overthrown by its own people. The regime took this insane risk of operating on European soil to destroy the opposition. It was vital for it to strike at the MEK to ensure the survival of the regime.
The proof of the Iranian regime’s terrorist attempts against European citizens is now a recorded fact, an undeniable fact of history. This judgement calls for a severe European response. No more accommodation, no more submitting our values to political and economic interests. Europe has to close Iranian terrorist centers all over Europe, all Iranian embassies. We have to close those embassies if we want to protect our nationals. Zarif has to be held accountable for his crimes. He must understand that he is not welcome in Europe. Our leaders and government must refrain from inviting him to Europe to talk. He should be in jail with Assadi. The Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has to be designated as a terrorist organization, which is what it is. The EU must reject the regime’s blackmail policy.
We call on all leaders in office in Europe to support the Iranian people in their struggle to claim back their country. We must recognize the NCRI and its leader Maryam Rajavi as a valid alternative for a democratic transition in Iran.
Giulio Terzi, Foreign Minister of Italy (2011-2013)
This is a moment when we have to believe that justice must be rendered for other instances of the crimes committed by the heinous regime of the mullahs. Justice must be rendered for the execution of political prisoners in 1988 and the killing of political refugees in other countries.
Those who appease the mullahs’ regime must be aware that the mask is finally off. The regime is certified as a terrorist state by the court.
The judges have established that Assadi was acting on behalf of the leaders of the Iranian regime. This shows the unity between the so-called hardline and reformist factions in the regime. The regime, particularly Zarif, used dual nationals, innocent civilians, as hostages to influence Assadi’s case and secure his release.
We need the closure of embassies and expelling of ambassadors and diplomats every time terrorist activities are detected. This is the number-one state sponsor of terrorism. It supports murderous dictators and terrorist groups. European-Iranian relations must be made contingent on the regime halting its malign activities.
Europe’s lack of proper action has emboldened Iran’s regime in its terrorist activities, giving them the impression that they will not be held accountable. Today is the day for a new approach to tackle the terror regime.
Pandeli Majko—Minister of State, former Prime Minister of Albania
Today, the trial in Belgium has placed the regime in Iran under a serious charge. This clarifies Iran’s official status. Iran’s leaders have imprisoned their country. They are now faced with international law and public opinion at home.
We must support the democratic alternative and the platform and plan of Madam Maryam Rajavi.
Tom Ridge, first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
The NCRI is an immediate threat to the repressive Iranian regime. It is the largest, best organized and most popular democratic alternative to the regime.
The regime’s fear of a democratic alternative, attracting even greater domestic and international support, was and still remains so intense that it directed one of its diplomats to oversee this plot, collaborate with the accomplices, act as a courier for the explosives and coordinate the activity with the Iranian government.
For the past 20 years, the regime’s effort to suppress the truth and eliminate any efforts to bring democracy and freedom to Iran has been brutally, but unsuccessfully sustained. The regime has killed dissidents. It has not killed their quest for freedom.
The planned bombing was a state sponsored operation by a terrorist state that continues to operate with arrogance with impunity, with disdain for the human race and common decency, basic norms with civil society.
The European Union, the United States, nations around the world must applaud the courage and the diligence of the Belgian government, its judicial system and their citizens, and loudly resoundingly condemn the action of the Iranian government. But rhetorical condemnation without further action will be of little impact on this rogue regime, which heretofore has been totally unwilling to change its behavior.
Countries whose citizens were in harm’s way, in the July event should consider downgrading diplomatic relations with Iran. The operation of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, that whole shop, should be labeled a foreign terrorist organization. This is the way to hold them accountable worldwide. And we need to hold the Foreign Minister accountable in some fashion for his use of the diplomatic pouch, the diplomatic corps, the embassies and the missions as hubs for their terrorist activity.
These countries and their leaders should align themselves with the hopes of the Iranian people for freedom. I would call on them to recognize publicly the National Council of Resistance in Iran as the alternative to the existing regime. That is the ultimate. It’s the ultimate condemnation of their action. In that fashion, the truth will out. Again, I thank you for the opportunity to share with you my thoughts on this very important day.
Patrick Kennedy, former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Today is a historic day. Today is a day that there’s no turning back from. It’s a turning point for the European community and the rest of the world, not only with the regime in Iran, but particularly with their representative, Foreign Minister Zarif.
It’s time we face the facts. Either call them out on cleaning house or shut those embassies down. Make it very clear to the mullahs in Iran that we know that their existential threat is Madam Rajavi and PMOI and the NCRI, because that’s who they were targeting. It’s not anyone’s claim that the NCRI and Madam Rajavi are existential threats to Iran. The proof is in this trial.
The proof is why would the whole Iranian diplomatic system go to such lengths to seek to blow up a rally celebrating democracy and freedom coming to the Iranian people that clearly is the enemy of the current regime in Iran, that is wreaking havoc over human rights in Iran.
We have seen it not only in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 protesters, but also in numerous massacres especially in the last few years of uprisings.
It’s time to call Iran for what it is: a terrorist state. It’s time to expel their diplomats. It’s time that we have a new Iran, that we support the NCRI, we support the 10-point plan of Madam Rajavi, and that we support a new day for all Iranians who can finally be freed of this terrorist regime who terrorizes not only Iranians but the whole world.
Michele de Vaucouleurs, Member of the French National Assembly
There should be a complete turnaround in the relationships between France and Iran. Diplomatic relations with the Iranian regime should be suspended and only restored after a democratic transition takes place.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, First Vice-President of the European Parliament
Hello. Good morning to everyone and Mrs. Rajavi. … Paulo Casaca and also our good friend, … We have suffered together for many years. That’s why… Today, we are happy together. … All friends from the Iran … And of course, the courageous resistance unit inside Iran. … celebration today… and democrats must celebrate … today. Justice has prevailed. Three years ago, this brutal regime … using one of its diplomats…
Today, this … has been … in history against its perpetrators. After more than four decades, … and in the next stage. I have always managed to stay …
Within the regime. The truth is, as it has been proven in the sentence, that Asadollah Asadi was officially instructed, directed, and sanctioned by the regime authorities are the highest level. President Rouhani and Supreme Leader Khamenei, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of intelligence, are as responsible as Asadi himself.
… outside man, then why did the regime take such a heavy risk to hire them? Isn’t this … in the current humiliating position of the regime in this fight terrorist plot? The best reason to prove that NCRI is the genuine and most popular organization amongst the people inside the country, a movement that is capable of overthrowing this regime. This is exactly why …. just to destroy.
…. is not just … It is of a historical significance. … policy makers against the … has no place in the international community. … needs a serious … change. The European External Action Service … the Iranian regime …
to congratulate you, Mrs. Rajavi and … It will be a turning point. …The mullah’s regime …. the democracy country, Iran, is free. Thank you.
Steve McCabe, British MP for Birmingham Selly Oak
Maryam Rajavi, friends in Ashraf 3, I’m very pleased to be able to join you today. These are historic events in times where a diplomat from the Iranian regime has been found guilty of a terrorist plot and getting the maximum sentence of 20 years.
But it’s not just Asadollah Assadi and his co-conspirators who are guilty. His masters in Tehran must also be held accountable. If there’s a symmetry about these speeches, it’s because we’ve all come to similar conclusions.
This trial has exposed for all to see how the Iranian authorities show contempt for diplomatic conventions by using their embassies and diplomatic missions to export terror and carry out terrorist operations.
That’s not how a normal government behaves, even at times of genuine difference, tensions, and difficulties. It’s the actions of a pariah state, a regime that for years has taken advantage of diplomatic privileges and opportunities, not to further understanding, improve communication, and resolve difficulties, but to plan, export, and support terrorist activity and murder around the globe.
Today’s sentence is proof of what they have denied for so long. Asadollah Assadi didn’t deny the charges or express any regret. Instead, he asserted that the diplomatic status conferred on him by his masters in Tehran made he was above the law and should go free.
He refused to recognize the court in Antwerp. He showed contempt for the Belgian people, contempt for the French people, and utter disdain for the hundreds of innocent people he planned to murder.
The Iranian Foreign Minister defended him. The Iranian authorities had the temerity to accuse the French, German, and Belgians of violating diplomatic norms, violating diplomatic norms for apprehending a terrorist, foiling a bomb plot, and prosecuting the culprits.
That tells you all you need to know. He and his co-conspirators have got the sentence justice demands. The West now needs to show steely determination in making sure it’s carried out.
There can be no backdoor deals, no…, no swaps for innocent hostages seized by the lawyers for the express purpose of using them as bargaining chips with the deliberate intention of seeking the release of terrorists like Assadi.
This is the time for tougher action, stronger sanctions, reduced diplomatic privileges, and reconsideration of our longer-term relations with this regime.
I believe we can’t do business with them because we can’t ever trust them and there’s no point in pretending otherwise. Terrorists are terrorists no matter how they dress or what they call themselves. A terrorist can’t represent legitimate governments.
They can’t negotiate with democratic governments, and they can’t enjoy conventional diplomatic relations. They are cancer and they should be rooted out. Thank you.
Retired U.S. Army Colonel Wesley Martin
Mrs. Rajavi, members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, all guests and dignitaries, and especially my fellow soldiers for democracy, who we serve so closely together at Camp Ashraf, thank you for allowing me to join you today.
All Events with the NCRI and the MEK bring together people throughout the world to show support for an Iran that one day we’ll achieve, the Four Freedoms stated by President Franklin Roosevelt, the freedoms of speech, of worship, from want, and from fear. The failed 2018 attack was as much against those freedoms as it was against the participants at the rally outside Paris. This attempted attack once again emphasized Iran’s ruling extremist fear of the NCRI and its affiliate organization, the Mojahedin-e-Khalq.
In turn, the number of international dignitaries attending this event confirms the global respect held by both organizations. For decades, the Iranian government has avoided judicial accountability as a number one state sponsor of international terrorism. This has ended today. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Rouhani were desperate. Citizens within Iran commenced in December 2017 the riots and are still ongoing inside the country. Still Khamenei’s two biggest threats to power continue to be the Paris-based NCRI and the MEK in Albania.
Whenever Ayatollah’s power is threatened by internal overthrow, the regime resorts to two measures. The first is brutal oppression of the Iranian citizens inside the country including imprisonment and mass execution. The second is committing a terrorist attack against Iran’s perceived enemies. Attacking the rally in Paris was a bold plan but Khamenei, Rouhani, and Asadi failed to take into account was European law enforcement efficiency.
The detection of the explosive device by Belgian police immediately activated the criminal justice agencies throughout the continent. German police apprehended Asadi during his automobile flight as he was approaching the Austrian border. We should give special recognition to law enforcement agencies, the frontline against terrorism in Europe.
Now, the day of justice has come for Asadi and his three accomplices, the verdicts on terrorism and attempted murder. Also, indirectly on trial was Khamenei and Rouhani for ordering the failed mass slaughter. This verdict is a blow to the influence inside and outside of Iran. Unfortunately, their day of justice will have to be delayed until the eventual but certain collapse of the Iranian government. The question becomes, why national governments around the world currently in power still have so much reluctance to stop coddling the government of Iran and recognize the way to move forward is to work with the opposition?
Neither the NCRI or the MEK are about power in Iran. They’re about democracy in Iran. Both have become cultural, political, and ideological threats to the Islamic fundamentalists. The founding philosophies were both organizations [inaudible 4:30] between those in power and those not, between men and women, and among the various religions and races. Clergy should not have total control over interpretation of the Quran and clerics should not have total control over their congregations.
These philosophies are in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Iranian fundamentalist. Shamefully, Western detractors will still strive for Iranian appeasement, claiming these philosophies reflect the teachings of Marx and Lenin. The reality is those philosophies accurately reflect John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.
The people of Iran want change, rather than to continue attempting to appeasement with dysfunctional government leaders of the international community will better serve their nations in global peace by working with the two organizations determined to bring democracy and stability to Iran and the Middle East. Those two organizations are the NCRI and the MEK,
to my brothers and sisters, Ashraf three, when you go on, you’re ready to go to Iran. I’m ready to go with you. We were together at Ashraf, let’s go together into Tehran. Thank you.
Thank you, thank you very much for your remarks. Terrorist activities, and today is a very important day since you are a civil party and especially when the court has confirmed the state terrorism of the regime. And I’m sure a very big victory, not only for the linear resistance, also for you and for all friends of this resistance. Thank you very much.
Dr. Riad Yassin Abdallah, former Foreign Minister of Yemen
Good morning for everybody.
First, I would like to congratulate President Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian people for this victory.
This is a historical day. I would like to congratulate also myself because I have been a victim of this terrorist act if tends to would happen.
This terrorism is a continuous behavior of the Iranian regime since long time as they are supporting and funding the Houthis militia or as they call themselves, Ansar Allah, in my country.
They destroyed my country in the last six-year wars. All of them are a terrorist act, what they are doing to my people in Yemen.
The last decision by the American government to label them as a terrorist should be supported by everybody and should be supported by everyone because what they are doing in my country is no different, what the Iranian regime doing in Iran and outside Iran.
They are working the Houthis militia or Ansar Allah. They are agents for a terrorist regime. I think we should all come together and work together in order to stop them and to stop dire and wonted terrorism, which of course, a lot of innocent people are dying and suffering from this kind of behaviors.
Today, we are celebrating, and we will continue our struggle, our fight against terrorism. And I think, the decision today by the court, the verdict is worth to celebrate and to remember this day.
Thank you very much for all your support, and we hope that coming together, we can become victorious always against such behaviors. Thank you very much.
Jean Michele Clement, member of the National Assembly of France since 2007
It was essential that justice was served and diplomacy was kept out of this decision. This is not the end of a fight, it’s the first page of a new book. It should send a strong signal to European diplomacy, especially French diplomacy. The Iranian regime is a criminal system, not a political system.
Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Canada
Merci beaucoup, and greetings to all my friends at the National Council of resistance of Iran and to your entire global network. In 2018, I attended the NCRI’s free Iran rally for the first time. It was in Paris, and it was one of the largest and most impressive events I’ve ever participated in.
We did not know then that Iranian government agents were planning to disrupt that event through terrorism and murder. Those individuals have been put on trial, where they have faced undeniable evidence of their intent to commit those crimes. We did not know that then.
But we would not have been surprised. This is what the Islamic Republic in Tehran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism does. And it is no surprise that such actions would be directed against you, the NCRI, which is the regimes largest opposition, and which works relentlessly to expose its malevolence, its brutality, and its crimes.
Whatever the outcome in the court today, I’m here to say, continue your work. continue the fight for freedom, democracy, human dignity and peaceful change in Iran. Continue to strike fear into the hearts of the extremist mullahs in Tehran.
And continue that fight until victory is achieved. Your friends around the world are with you. Merci beaucoup.
Gen. James Jones, 22nd United States National Security Advisor
Good day to all of our friends in Albania and around the world, to all the people who are seeking the same thing we are and that is the freedom for the people of Iran, and the opportunity to live in a democratic society, one that is admirably envisioned by the leader of the NCRI, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
My name is Jim Jones. I’m a retired general officer in the United States Marine Corps and a former national security adviser to the President of the United States. I’m honored to be with you to talk a little bit about the Iranian regime’s state terrorism and to suggest that it is time to adopt a much more firm international policy with regard to the regime.
Nowhere is this more well represented than the trial of Asadollah Assadi and three of his accomplices, which were held in Antwerp, Belgium on the 27th of November and the third of December. Mr. Assadi, the regime diplomat, of course refused to attend the court.
They were charged with attempting to blow up the Free Iran gathering at Villepinte, a suburb of Paris, on June 30, 2018. All four were charged with several counts of terrorism. The court will announce this decision on Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 9:00 am, just about the time you might be seeing this message.
Prosecutors have asked for lengthy sentences in all the cases ranging from 20 years to 18 and 15 years, revocation of Belgian citizenships in the cases of Mr. Naami, Mr. Saadouni, and Mr. Arefani, and a 20-year sentence for Mr. Asadollah Assadi, which is the maximum sentence because no one was killed.
The defense of Mr. Assadi was ridiculous. His lawyers didn’t address the facts of the case at all. Instead, he continued to claim diplomatic immunity without any legal recourse and that’s because of his status as a diplomat. He also claimed that the explosive were nothing more than firecrackers designed to make loud noises and as such, no one was lethally exposed to danger.
The real decision makers, of course as we know, was taken by the Supreme National Security Council headed by the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani, confirmed by Supreme Leader Khamenei, and then assigned to the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the MOIS, to implement the decision in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
And as we all know, the target was the NCRI’s annual meeting, where hundreds of international dignitaries and tens of thousands of participants were present. The prime target was the NCRI President-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. Had the plot been successful, it would have led to carnage with hundreds of casualties. Investigations concluded that Assadi was a senior official at the MOIS and his diplomatic status provided him with a cover for his unlawful actions including terrorist activities. The two-year investigation has concluded that the terrorist act was not the personal initiative of Assadi, but more importantly, an act of state-sponsored terrorism.
The State Security Agency of Belgium also informed the judicial investigation that this was a case of state terrorism and that the MOIS was involved.
Assadi brought the bomb to Europe from Iran via a commercial flight and then personally delivered it to the two bombers. The instruction of the bomb was found in his car. The investigation also revealed that Assadi had been running a network of agents in Europe, some of whom are still not identified. Receipts for the monthly payments to some of his agents were in Assadi’s car when he was arrested.
Huge amounts of money were paid to these agents. The three agents had received at least 450,000 euros in the past several years, but this was certainly not all the money they received.
So, why did the regime engage in such an act of terrorism in a city like Paris? They took the risk because it was vital for it to strike at the NCRI and MEK as the existential threat to the survival of the regime and as a popular democratic alternative.
That ordered Assadi to personally get involved because it wanted this plot to be foolproof and absolutely successful, that did not trust intermediaries or any lower level official. As we all know, over the past few years within Iran, there has been a new surge of support for the NCRI and MEK movements, especially among the younger generation.
Internationally, not only was the MEK removed from the terrorist list, but also more important was being recognized as a democratic force for change in Iran. The attack demonstrated that the regimes desperate situation forced it to take such a tremendous risk and order his diplomat to personally get engaged in acts of terrorism in the heart of Europe.
So, what’s the importance of this case? The Iranian regime has been engaged in acts of terrorism for over 40 years, but this is the first time a diplomat has been caught red handed. The evidence is overwhelming about the role of the Iranian regime, all senior leadership in this plot.
And the case put to an end the false narrative that these acts of terrorism were the work of the hardliners or rogue elements within the regime and not officially sanctioned by regime authorities. It is clear that the entire regime including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Javad Zarif, was involved.
So, what should we do next? The judicial process is over. The proof of the Iranian regimes involvement in state terrorism is undeniable and it’s now time to end our conciliatory approach wherever it exists towards this regime and adopt a much firmer policy. Only then will the people of Iran be inspired to rise up and replace the regime one way or another, and only then will the regime know that it is truly taking its last breath.
First, European governments and the US must strongly condemn the regime for this act of terrorism. We can no longer have business as usual and we can no longer sustain ourselves on the false hopes that the regime will in fact change.
Second, we should downgrade diplomatic relations, withdraw ambassadors from Iran, close the regimes embassies and all other regimes centers, predicate a return to normal relations on the dismantling of the regimes terrorist apparatus and its assurances to not engage in terrorism again and that should be accompanied by substantial proof.
Third, hold minister Zarif accountable for his responsibility and that of his ministry in acts of terrorism in Europe and therefore refrain from ever inviting him to Europe or to holding talks with him. Anything less than these necessary measures will be constrained by the regime as a sign of weakness on the part of the international community and will embolden it to continuous rogue behavior with impunity. The evidence that they would do that is overwhelming.
Fourth, we should designate the MOIS and the IRGC as terrorist entities in Europe and withdraw the refugee status or citizenship for regime agents in Europe and deport them or arrest them.
Fifth, reject the regime’s blackmail policy. Giving into regime blackmail is a recipe for more terrorism. And lastly, ladies and gentlemen, my friends, and perhaps more importantly, we should stand with the Iranian people and their desire for regime change by supporting the democratic alternative of the National Council of resistance of Iran and its president elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
The time has come for decisive action. Action that will convince the regime, those days are numbered, if not already over and it will give great courage and high morale to the people of Iran that someday soon, in the very near future, they will walk in the sunlight of freedom and democracy and enjoy the trappings of life in ways that they have been denied for over 40 years.
It is time to take decisive action. It is time to not nurture our policies on the false hopes that the regime will ever change. That must be replaced. That must depart. And it must give away the undeniable quest for freedom and democracy that lies in the heart of all true Iranians. Thank you very much.
Lars Rise, former Norwegian MP
Mrs. Rajavi, excellent … friends in Ashraf, ladies [inaudible 1:10]. This is a historic day … not only for the opposition … evidence that the … by the Supreme … Leader, Khomeini. If this … which they, by the way, are already guilty of. How come that every European leader wants to shake hands now with Javad Zarif?
He seems to pop up next to a prime minister or foreign minister from various Western countries in every news page we see. After receiving the verdict today from the court in Brussels, all European leaders planning to meet with Javad Zarif should be clear about one thing on their to do list.
I have to get issued an arrest order for Javad Zarif. He has committed crimes against humanity and should be sent to the Hague, where he should be held responsible for working out and giving instructions to execute this evil plan. How is it possible to work with the regime for anybody as if nothing happened?
I was present at the event on the 30th of June 2018 together with my wife and my two daughters. I was completely unaware of the drama which took place as the two terrorists were arrested on their way towards the conference hall to kill all of us, the speakers, the guests, and the leadership of the MEK and NCRI, including Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
We have learned through the court case that the capacity of the bomb sent through the border in diplomatic luggage was enough to kill several hundreds of people. Those who planned this big explosion must have been aware of how risky it would be to try to execute the operation on European soil, knowing very well that agents of the regime are being monitored and followed constantly by several intelligence services. In a way, the willingness to go forward with the plans, in spite of the high risk shows that the regime is desperate.
The situation is desperate in Iran. The Iranian regime has committed terrorist acts for more than 40 years. They have used reverse psychology methods all these years and naming the opposition as the terrorist while they were actually the guilty ones themselves. But this is the first time a diplomat has been caught in the act.
It is interesting that the evidence presented in the court was so overwhelming that the lawyers of the regime did not even try to oppose the validity of the tapes, transcripts, photos and footage. I’m honored that I, in a few minutes, will take part in the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC this year through Zoom. President Biden will take part for the first time.
Also, there will be greetings and prayers from former presidents of the United States and the prayer is now for unity, coming together, and standing firm together.
Now is the time to act. Now is the time for the leaders in Europe to hold the regime legally responsible for the crimes they have committed. For those governments who are hesitant to actually get Javad Zarif arrested and sent to the Hague, what about doing something?
Close the embassies, deny him coming, don’t invite him, don’t have meetings with him. It’s time to stand together, stand up for democracy and human rights in Iran, and hope for the day for the freedom to come very soon. Thank you very much.
Dr. Tahar Boumedra, former chief of the Human Rights Office of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), legal expert
Mrs. Rajavi, my friends in Ashraf 3, my friends in Iran, and indeed all over the world. Today, the truth, the rule of law, justice has prevailed over impunity.
Indeed, impunity has failed. Through this verdict, it’s not only Asadollah Asadi who has been convicted.
It’s the whole regime. The Iranian regime as a whole has been proven before a court of law, being behind the crimes of assassinations, and crimes that amounts to crimes against humanity.
So, I take this opportunity to join my voice to the previous speakers to call on the EU and its member states to start a new type of relationship with this regime, a new relationship that would leave no room for complacency, a new relationship that would hold all criminals accountable for their acts.
And I think today’s verdict is a very good example and a source of inspiration for the United Nations Human Rights System. Let’s keep in mind that the 1988 massacre or the political prisoners is still to be accounted for.
And I’m sure, again, regarding this issue, 1988 massacre, justice will prevail again. Mubarak, Mubarak, Mubarak to all of you in Iran, in Ashraf 3 and to you, Mrs. Rajavi. Thank you.
Kimmo Sasi, Finnish MP since 1983
As we all know, … court in Antwerp, Belgium has given its verdict. And now, it’s proven that Iranian regimes diplomat Assadollah Assadi and his three paid terrorists tried to murder thousands of people in the opposition gathering in Paris 2018.
I was one of those attending in that meeting as an international supporter for democracy, peace, and human rights in Iran and supporting Mrs. Rajavi’s movement. It has now been proven that there has been an action of terrorism and state terrorism.
We have now our diplomat who has brought bombing material from Iran to the European Union soil. I must say, this is a great shame for the Iranian government. It means that now, there has been a target that is peace-loving, human rights people in the Iranian opposition that should be defended by all international organizations.
Therefore, I, as former minister for European affairs in Finland, urge the European Union foreign ministers in their next meeting, first, to condemn the Iran regime’s terrorist action. Second, go through all the embassies in the European Union countries and guarantee that there is no person that could take action in a terrorist sense.
Then, the foreign ministers must list all Iranian regime organizations that are responsible of this act of terrorism in Europe. And especially, they’ll have to study the role of
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in this case and it would be important with that organization on the terrorist place in the European Union. And then, all those persons who have been attending this action, the European Union should levy personal sanctions on them, that they really feel the pain of what they have done against human rights.
I think, now, the European Union and especially the Prime Ministers of the European Union, have to show how serious they are in fighting for human rights and protecting the most important human right, that is the right to life.
Now, this must be the starting point to the final fight for democracy and human rights, according to Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten Point Plan to get peace and human rights in Iran. Thank you so much.
Paulo Casaca, former Member of the European Parliament
Dear Madam President, dear friends in Ashraf, all the Iranian community, all friends of freedom, many congratulations.
The judicial authorities in Antwerp made history. After 41 years, a European court has finally condemned the Islamic Republic of Iran for terrorism. It was certainly a long time, a far too long time, during which the theocracy not only enjoyed impunity, but also and much worse managed to lead Western institutions to persecute the victims of terror activities, as if they were culprits.
It is a moment for every freedom and peace loving person to celebrate. It’s also a moment to strengthen our efforts and seek justice for the countless victims of the mullah regime. Zarif, the head of the Iranian foreign defense and … superior of the convicted terrorists recognized his own responsibility when he acknowledged that the terrorists acted within the framework of his own diplomatic instructions.
After this decision by the Antwerp court, the claim of diplomatic immunity was transformed into an unequivocal confession of terrorists masterminding.
How can the European diplomacy pretend it is facing anything else than the representatives of a terrorist state? How can the European diplomacy insist on a deal with a clerical gang which has repeatedly shown it respects no international convention and is ready to commit murder on European soil?
According to the Vienna conventions, diplomatic statutes cannot be used for terrorist activities.
Therefore, European institutions must reevaluate all credentials accepted from representatives of the theocracy, limiting their capacity to further sponsor extremism and violence in Europe.
It is high time for European leaders to acknowledge that they are facing a state that utterly disregards human rights and legal international obligations. It is time to demand full investigations and prosecutions of those high in the clerical states … responsible for crimes against humanity.
It is time to fully support the plight by the Iranian people to live in peace, freedom, and democracy in a state respecting the rules of human dignity. Thank you very much.
Prof. Eric David, renowned Belgian legal expert
Today was a great day for law. The law always prevails.
Michele Alliot-Marie, French politician and Member of the European Parliament from France
Today, the trial in Belgium includes a diplomat from Iran’s embassy in Austria. He represents the Iranian state in a terrorist act that could have led to many victims. It is thanks to an exemplary cooperation between European authorities that we avoided a catastrophe. International relations cannot be based on terrorism and blackmail. It is time to stop these terrorist activities.
Gianna Gancia, Member of the European Parliament for North-West Italy
We need a firmer policy against the threatening activities of the Iranian regime in Europe. We in Europe need to be firm against the actions of the Iranian regime. The time has come to downgrade diplomatic relations with Iran. We should withdraw our ambassadors from Iran.
John Baird, Former Foreign Minister of Canada
For more than 40 years now, the Iranian regime in Tehran has been supporting state sponsored terrorism right around the world. They focused on the Middle East, they focused on the regime’s enemies, and they focused on innocent civilians.
Another big example of this happened on June the 30th 2018, when the National Council of Resistance of Iran was having their annual gathering outside of Paris, France.
Tens and tens and tens of thousands of people attended the call for regime change to support the NCRI and to lend their support to the group’s leader Maryam Rajavi.
After the event, it was discovered when an Iranian regime diplomat was arrested in Belgium that the Iranian regime including Hassan Rouhani, the president of the regime, were targeting the gathering, targeting the NCRI, targeting civilians, and most importantly, targeting Maryam Rajavi.
Their goal was simple, to cause as much death and casualties by terrorist means to financing and to direct support. The most disturbing part of this is that an Iranian regime, an accredited diplomat, representing the regime with a diplomatic passport, has been charged with the attempted attack.
The evidence collected by the Belgian authorities, put on the trial last November December, is strong. It’s clear. It’s undeniable. We will soon learn whether the accused terrorist and his three co-conspirators will be convicted.
We believe that the evidence is undeniable, and we hope that there’ll be justice for the NCRI, justice for Madame Rajavi, and justice for everyone who was at that event. What makes this personal for me is I was there with supporters or people wanting to overthrow the regime.
I was there to speak out against state sponsored terrorism, to speak out against the atrocities and terrible human rights abuses that have escalated under Rouhani, and to speak out against the terrible human rights record on the ground in all regions of Iran.
So for me, it’s personal. And let’s hope that we get justice today for the attempted terrorist attack, that we get justice today for the attempted murder of what would have been hundreds, if not thousands or even tens of thousands of people.
Let’s recommit ourselves to work with all aspects of Iranian society, for the student groups, unions, other opposition groups, the NCRI, that we stand up against this regime and that a better day comes for the Iranian people.
Linda Chavez, former White House Director of Public Liaison and U.S. expert to the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
Hello, I’m Linda Chavez. I am sorry, I can’t be with you in person. But I am happy to join you via video conference and to talk about what occurred in June of 2018.
In the suburbs of Paris, where I along with dozens of other high-profile Americans, many of whom had served prominently in roles in both Democratic and Republican administrations were gathered in support of Madame Maryam Rajavi, and the National Council of resistance of Iran.
We were there to hear Madame Rajavi talk about her 10 point plan to talk about the freedoms that she is seeking for the people of Iran. And we learned shortly after we left Villepinte that in fact, we were very lucky to have escaped Villepinte with our lives.
There was an effort on the part of the Iranian regime, not just to quash dissent by offering words of criticism, but by sending bombs, and using their diplomats in Europe, to in fact, involve themselves in the plot, and to hire those who would take those weapons and bring them to the gathering outside Paris in order to seek maximum damage.
Their goal obviously was to assassinate Madame Rajavi who the Iranian regime views as the major threat to the regime. But they also would have inflicted mass casualties with scores of people possibly having been killed, or at the very least injured.
So, I am here to ask the European Union to recognize danger of the Iranian regime to recognize the diplomats who are stationed throughout Europe, often are simply the security arm of the Iranian regime.
They are not true diplomats, they are not coming in seeking peace or seeking dialogue, they are coming to spread terror. And in fact, that is exactly what happened.
And that is the case before the courts. And I would hope that as a result of this case, as a result of the evidence that was overwhelming, that showed the Iranian regime was interested in assassinating people within Europe, without the European Union’s countries will seek not to have normal relations with the Iranian regime, as long as their purpose is to engage in this kind of state sponsored terrorism.
So I come to you as an individual and as someone who has served at a high level in the Reagan administration, to urge the countries of the Europe, European Union, to take seriously this threat, where dissent is squashed not only within Iran, for Iranian people, but that state terrorism is brought on to European soil.
And I urge that in order to stop more terrorism from spreading in Europe, that the European Union will act decisively to dissolve the network of agents that hide under the cover of diplomacy within Europe. Thank you very much.
Senator. Robert Torricelli former US Senator from New Jersey
My congratulations to all of those who joined with me in Paris and would have been victims of this terrorist plot on today’s verdict to all of those who have fought so hard and the MEK for Iranian freedom, and your Iranian patriots everywhere, who want to restore the good name of Iran and create a free and democratic republic in Tehran, there is no mistaking that today is an extraordinary victory.
These four individuals posing as Iranian diplomats, agents of the regime, have been found in a court of law, and a free open and fair process, guilty of acts of terrorism, any debate about the Iranian regimes involvement and acts of terror, murder is now over.
It’s established as a matter of law, a matter of fact, that it was the intention of the mullahs in Tehran, to murder Mrs. Rajavi, and all of us, who were there doing nothing more than in free expression in France, the heart of a Western democracy, petitioning the Iranian government to let its people live free lives. Now the verdict is in.
And these four individuals will pay with years or decades of their freedom. But what’s not done? They didn’t act alone. Indeed, interestingly, they never even pled innocence. All they were arguing is that they shouldn’t be tried because they were diplomats.
They didn’t claim they weren’t terrorists. They didn’t claim they weren’t trying to commit murder. They claim there were diplomats. Well, their pleas have been rejected.
Now, where do we go? First, let’s just be honest with each other, while these four individuals were guilty, they were members of the Iranian government, agents of the Ministry of security and intelligence, the real culprit that should be on trial, Zarif was not there. But he remains guilty.
And for all the international community who seek justice, he and his subordinates are yet to be apprehended and tried. But they are guilty, as is the larger regime. international diplomacy, using the status of a diplomat to transport explosives, to plan murderers, to move agents with the intent of killing is as much of a violation of international law as is possible.
So, what do we do? First, those nations who have not done so, designating Zarif, designating the ministry as a terrorist enterprise is essential, sanction it. Call it out for what it is a terrorist enterprise, all Western governments, if you have confidence in your own courts, if you believe your own prosecutors, if you’re willing to be honest with the evidence, what choice do we have?
These are judgments my own government, the United States have made, but now must be made by countries in the EU and Britain, and a host of other nations. You have confidence in your courts follow their lead. Second, the Iranian people.
If you doubted before, the claims of the United States and other Western nations that the Iranian regime is a terrorist government. Is there anything left now to discuss or debate in a free open court, they have been found guilty of using their own agents to commit terrorism.
So all of us have a role to play. My congratulations to the police of Germany, Belgium and France, the courts of Belgium, the governments of Western Europe for their professionalism, their honesty, their integrity, and their strength. they’ve spoken.
Now, as I’ve suggested other governments need to speak by designated terrorist acts, certainly designated as a terrorist. And then the Iranian people. You’ve seen the evidence, you’ve seen what has happened. So many brave Iranians have now taken to the streets demanding freedom for themselves and for their families. So many have sacrificed now it’s everyone else’s turn.
Take a stand. Take a stand, the MEK and this is Rajavi, who provide the leadership and the inspiration. There’s just so much they can do. And there’s just so much all of us the international community can do.
Ultimately, Well, today was a victory. It’s not the ultimate success that we need, that will be earned only by the Iranian people on the streets of the cities and towns of Iran, demanding freedom to everyone who was a part of today’s victory. Congratulations.
There is justice, there is accountability for acts of terrorism in the world by the Iranian government, as someday those who hold Iranian patriots today in jails throughout Iran, who’ve tortured your sons and daughters, denied your freedom, stolen billions of dollars, even while the Iranian people go hungry, deprived of the most basic needs, for the theft of your resources for the denial of your freedom, for the abuse of your children.
Justice today, there is a verdict. History and future courts, as assuredly the most will one day sit in a docket in a jury and a trial in Tehran for their crimes, as agents of the Ministry of Interior as a reef himself will sit in a jury docket. As sure as that will happen.
Today, we celebrate this great victory. Congratulations again, my thanks and admiration for the police, for the judges for the juries of Western Europe. Thank you
Struan Stevenson, former Member of the European Parliament for Scotland
When a Middle Eastern country orders one of its diplomats to bomb an opposition rally in Europe, prepares the lethal device, sends them to the EU on a commercial airliner with the bomb in his diplomatic bag, what should the West do? This is not some sort of Hollywood fantasy.
This is reality. This really happened. Now, we’ve just heard this sentence passed by a Belgian court on Asadollah Asadi, the Iranian diplomat and his four Iranian co-conspirators who were involved in the plot to kill and maim hundreds at a mass rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the NCRI, attended by tens of thousands of people at Villepinte, near Paris, in June 2018. I was there.
All four have received long jail terms for terrorism. I was a plaintiff at a trial, along with many other supporters of the PMOI/MEK.
Today’s current ruling is a great victory for the NCRI and its charismatic leader, the president-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. It’s also a great victory for the PMOI/MEK and their frontline team in Ashraf 3.
The court’s verdict will be of enormous significance and a huge morale booster for the courageous resistance units floating around who can now see the tyrannical mullah’s regime exposed and held to account in the European Court of Justice.
The clerical regime has a history of deploying its assassins in the guise of diplomats and using their embassies around the world as bomb factories. Since seizing power in the 1979 Revolution, the Shia country regime, whose main contribution to the world has been Islamic fundamentalism, has ruthlessly bombed and shot its opponents around the globe while torturing and executing political prisoners at home, but this is the first time a diplomat has been caught red handed and jailed for acts of terror.
It must surely mark a turning point in relations with the mullah’s regime. There can be no return to business as usual. There can be no more arguments that diplomacy is the answer.
The arch criminal and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, together with the senior ministers like President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and the Minister of Intelligence Mohamad Alavi ordered the spying, ordered the bomb plots, and ordered their assassinations.
They must be held to account. It’s time for a complete change of direction in US, EU, and UN policy towards Iran. The people of Iran expect the West to be on their side. They expect their calls for democracy to be taken seriously.
Human rights and women’s rights cannot be compromised or marginalized on the pretext of political considerations, trade deals, or particularly the flawed nuclear deal. The appeasement policy lamely followed by the EU and its top diplomat Joseph Burrell is dead in the water. It’s high time the West realized that the peace they have bought with appeasement is only temporary and the price they have paid has been freedom and democracy for the people of Iran.
Now, following the enter trial, the EU will have to reassess completely its relationship with the criminal mullah’s regime. The verdict in Antwerp today proves what we have known all along.
The Iranian people have been governed by gangsters who will not hesitate to assassinate, bomb, maim, torture, and kill their opponents at home and abroad.
The only way to restore peace, justice, democracy, and freedom to the people of Iran, to the Middle East, and to the world is to remove them from power and indict them for crimes against humanity in the International Courts of Justice.
It’s for this objective that I support the main opposition movement, the PMOI/MEK and their brave supporters in Ashraf 3 and across all of Iran. Today’s victory is only the start. The mullahs are finished.
Amb. Robert Joseph, Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
Good day. Iran’s terrorist-diplomat, Assadollah Assadi,fgi and his three accomplices have been found guilty of the attempted bombing of the free Iran gathering near Paris in 2018. a gathering of 10s of 1000s of men, women and children, who came together to celebrate their vision of a free and secular Iran.
This conviction should stand as an object lesson for all governments conducting relations with the regime. Following the arrest of these individuals on the day of the plan bombing, the Belgian State Security Agency, working closely with authorities in France, Germany, Austria and elsewhere, conducted an in-depth two-year investigation of the attack and attack that would have resulted in catastrophic loss of life, likely hundreds killed, and many, many more wounded and permanently disabled. If it had not been stopped the terrorist attack that day could have been the deadliest in Europe’s history.
I attended the 2018 meeting along with hundreds of parliamentarians, human rights activists, and other guests from around the world. Clearly, the main target was Mrs. Rajavi, head of the National Council of resistance of Iran, and the host of the rally. As I was seated close to Mrs. Rajavi, I could well have been one of the casualties.
For this reason, and for others, I became a party to the court and have followed the proceedings closely. At the trial, the prosecutor presented a mountain of evidence to support the charges against the defendants, including attempted terrorism with the intent to kill and activities within a terrorist entity.
The principal findings revealed by the prosecution were first, this was a deliberate act of state terrorism, ordered by and conducted by the Iranian regime. Assadi, the principal defendant, was found to be a senior official of the Ministry of intelligence and security, the MOIS assigned to the Iranian embassy in Vienna, and masquerading as a diplomat.
Second, Assadi de was not acting alone, he was not a rogue agent, he was in regular contact with higher level officials in Tehran, receiving his orders directly from them. He took personal possession of the bomb, which was transported on a commercial airline from Iran, and was designed by professionals to cause maximum damage.
Third, Assadi, using his diplomatic status as a cover for his criminal activities, had been running a network of agents in Europe from his position in the embassy, there can be no doubt that the true identity of this terrorist diplomat was known within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, making the MFA complicit in this act of terror.
This is the first time that an Iranian regime official has been caught red handed in and convicted of a state sponsored act of terrorism. This brazen act reflects the desperation of a regime that has lost all legitimacy with the people of Iran, through pervasive corruption, through foreign aggression in support of dictators, such as Assad in Syria, and through the bankrolling of terrorist groups.
The religious dictatorship has squandered the wealth of the Iranian nation through its brutal repression of those seeking a democratic Iran, including the mass murders of more than 100,000 of its own citizens from the 1980s until the present, and through now, it’s proven direct acts of terrorism in Europe and around the globe. The regime has committed crimes against humanity, for which those responsible must be held accountable. Targeting a massive crowd to pursue the criminal objective of killing the leader of the Democratic opposition is an abhorrent crime that cannot be tolerated by any civilized government.
Now that the verdict has been handed down by the court, the judiciary has finished its work. It’s now time for the governments to act decisively. Knowing that further concessions to the regime will only bring more injustice to the Iranian people, and more criminal and terrorist acts. For the EU, this should mean the adoption of a firm policy, including designating the MOIS and the IRGC as terrorist entities Withdrawing the legal status of all other regimes agents in Europe, and reducing the level of diplomatic relations until the regime has demonstrated its commitment to free Go terrorist activities.
For the Biden administration. The guilty verdict of Assadi and his accomplices should weigh heavily in his review of Iran policy. This active state terrorism should have a sobering effect. It should end any move to resurrect the appeasement policies of the past and dispel any false nostalgia about working with ministers or reef as a moderate influence in the regime, as he, with no doubt, was aware of the attempted attack by MOIS operatives working under his auspices, the new administration must uphold the values that it espouses.
If the leaders of free societies failed to hold the perpetrators responsible, including at the highest levels in Tehran, it will only encourage more terrorist attacks and make us complicit in them. Thank you very much.
Matthew Offord, Conservative MP for Hendon Leading member of the British Committee for Iran Freedom
Dear colleagues and friends today is an important day, a historic day in the fight against terrorism. N
ow for the first time ever, an accredited diplomat of the regime in Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, is not only caught in the act of terrorism, but also held accountable for his crime intended to bomb the Free Iran gathering of the NCRI in Paris targeting the NCRI president-elect and opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
I personally attended the annual gathering in Paris in support of a free and democratic Iran in previous years, where tens of thousands of people have also participated including many parliamentarians from Europe, the United States, and across the world. So successful, the attack could have caused major bloodshed and killed many people reminiscent of an ISIS still terrorist bombing.
But luckily, the security agencies and police in France, Germany, and Belgium were able to stop the attack and prevent another terrorist tragedy in Europe. Now, with the Iranian diplomat behind bars, it would be a mistake to believe that this case is over and closed.
No. This case has only just begun because we now know that the main culprits and those ordering and truly responsible for this attack upon Iran’s organized pro-democracy opposition in Europe or in Tehran.
We know after the trial and a two-year investigation that the convicted diplomat was in reality an intelligence officer and that he did not act on his own but rather followed orders from the regime’s most senior authorities including the supreme leader.
According to reports, the decision to launch his terrorist attack was taken by the Supreme National Security Council, headed by the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani. Then it was confirmed by the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, and assigned to the Ministry of Intelligence and Security to implement the decision in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is headed by the proposed moderator, Javad Zarif.
Iran’s state terrorism will never be stopped and defeated if these senior officials and leaders of the regime are allowed to enjoy impunity and escape accountability and justice. So while the small fish was caught, the time has come to go after the bigger fish.
The UK and its European allies has now worked together to hold the regime’s leaders in Tehran to account for their involvement in terrorism and all the other accelerated behaviors.
Also, the UK and the EU must move ahead and prescribe without delay the IRGC and the MOIS in their authority to prevent the regime and its terrorist organizations the resources and money they need to facilitate and carry out terrorist operations and to recruit agents in Europe.
I know that more and more colleagues in the UK Parliament are understanding the importance of prescribed in the IRGC and what a blow this will be for the regime’s efforts to export and support terrorism.
In this regard, I applaud my colleague Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the UK’s Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, in joining with us in this call as suppose his latest policy recommendation to the British government to prescribe the entire IRGC and to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to prioritize building watertight cases against human rights abuses based in Iran or acting for abroad and its next round of Magnitsky style sanctions.
I’m ending my remarks today by congratulating Mrs. Rajavi, the Iranian Resistance Movement, those of course in Ashraf 3 in Albania, and the people of Iran on this historic achievement and indeed, victory. It would have been impossible without your work and endeavors for a free and democratic Iran.
I stand with you all today and I will continue to stand with you until the day Iran is free, and I will join you in a celebration in Tehran. As I’ve always said before, and as many of you know, we just say one final word but three times, [foreign 4:37]. Thank you.
David Jones, Deputy Chairman of the European Research Group
I’m very pleased to be with you today for this important conference. I’m particularly pleased that it’s attended virtually by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and residents of Ashraf 3.
This morning’s verdict of the Antwerp court in the trial of the Iranian diplomat Asadollah Asadi and his three accomplices, who was sentenced to maximum terms of imprisonment for terrorist offenses, is an event of the most profound international importance.
It puts an end to the false narrative that the acts of terrorism of which they were accused with a work of hardliners or so called rogue elements within the Iranian regime. Asadi is an accredited diplomat.
Therefore, the entire regime must answer for his actions including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Javad Zarif. After today’s verdict, we in the United Kingdom are now looking to the British government to announce what action it will be taken to counter Iran state terrorism, which has now been shown beyond doubt to pose a serious threat to the security of the United Kingdom and Europe.
One immediate step should be for the Home Secretary Priti Patel to give urgent consideration to prescribing the IRGC in its entirety as the terrorist organization, a move that was recently recommended by the House of Commons – Foreign Affairs Committee and has wide cross-party support in both houses of parliament.
There are growing calls from parliamentarians for Dominic Raab and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to work with the Home Office to pursue such a prescription, which should also extend to the entirety of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, part of which was prescribed by the UK and the EU in January 2019 for their part in the bomb plot against the NCRI’s gathering in Paris.
The UK and the EU should both toughen their current conciliatory policy on Iran. That policy has, to a large extent, embodied their regime and has led him to believe that he could get away with terrorist activities on European soil, targeting the pro democracy opposition and its leader Mrs. Rajavi.
Global Britain should take the lead in developing firm policy on Iran as an international level. This should include downgrading diplomatic relations with Iran and contemplating the closure of Iran’s embassies and, where appropriate, the expulsion of diplomats given the regime’s role in promoting terrorism on European soil and holding British and European citizens hostage.
Any return to a normal relationship should then be contingent upon the verifiable dismantling by Iran of its terrorist operators and credible undertakings not to engage in state terrorism again.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work of the NCRI and its president-elect Mrs. Rajavi. This is undoubtedly an historic day for the Iranian people and the popular struggle for a free and democratic Iran. And congratulations also to the law enforcement agencies on the European continent. Their hard work and professionalism has ensured that those who terrorize the people of Iran and seek to export that terrorist activities are brought to justice.
My best wishes to the people of Iran and the cause of justice in that great country. Thank you.
Martin Patzelt, Member of the Human Rights Commision of the Federal Parliament of Germany
The court in Belgium has handed down its verdict. The whole regime of the mullahs has been convicted. This is a victory for the Iranian Resistance. The EU has some responsibility.
For too long Europe has tolerated the abuse of diplomatic status in Europe promoted by the Iranian regime. Germany seems to be at the center of the Iranian regime’s terrorist actions. So-called Iranian diplomats have been guiding the terrorist apparatus of the regime in Germany.
Amb. Mitchell Reiss, former U.S. State Department Director of Policy Planning
I’d like to talk today about the trial of Assadolah Assadi, a so-called diplomat representing the Islamic Republic of Iran, and three of his accomplices.
They were charged with attempting to transport explosives that would blow up a gathering of tens of thousands of free Iranians and hundreds of dignitaries who were gathering outside Paris in June 2018.
My name is Mitchell Reiss. I was at that gathering that June and could have been among the victims of this terrorist attempt Had it been successful. So, I would first like to thank the French, Belgian and other police and security services, who uncovered this terrorist plot and prevented a humanitarian catastrophe from taking place.
I would also like to thank the Belgian and EU officials who bravely defied threats of additional violence from Tehran, should this trial go forward? They are all to be commended for their courage.
We need to ask ourselves, why did the Iranian regime so fear this gathering outside Paris that it was willing to risk alienating all of Europe, and all civilized people around the world by engaging in such an act of blatant terror? The answer is clear.
The Gathering was organized by the NCRI and MEK. organizations that have been working tirelessly for decades to bring about a democratic Iran based on truly free elections, with rule of law and respect for all Iranian citizens. The values of the NCRI and MEK represent our universal values enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
These values, however, represent an existential threat to the decades of misrule and tyranny by the mullahs and their foot soldiers of the regime. They fear these values, they fear the NCRI and MEK. So, they feel they must respond the only way they know best with violence and terror.
They seek to silence all opposition by force. And that’s why this terror operation was approved at the very high officials of the Iranian regime. Because today’s leaders in Iran know the terror is the only way that they can maintain their grip on power. History tells us that such an approach is destined to fail. regimes that have defied the will of the people do not last. This regime too is destined to fail. Every attempt to silence their critics by violence, whether outside Paris, or on the streets across Iran proves that the mullahs understand and fear this historical truth as well.
Now no one knows when the day of reckoning for the mullahs will come, but we know that it is coming. We also know that our actions can accelerate the timetable for when this day does come.
So, what do we need to do now? First, with this trial, the proof of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism is undeniable. The United States in every European government should immediately condemn the regime for this behavior. But beyond mere words, these governments need to take solid actions to demonstrate that this behavior will not be tolerated in the future.
It’s clear that Iran uses its diplomatic missions to support a global terror network. So, every government needs to assess carefully all of Iran’s diplomatic personnel around the world and expel all employees who are not engaged in purely diplomatic work.
Also, the Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, needs to be held accountable for what occurred by one of his so called diplomats, he should not be invited to Europe. He should not be seen as a legitimate foreign ministry official responsible for negotiating diplomatic arrangements with other countries.
Finally, all these governments and nongovernmental organizations across Europe and the United States need to redouble their efforts to help the long-suffering Iranian people. Support for a democratic alternative inside Iran would communicate to brave Iranians that they are not alone in their struggle that their voices are heard, and that the free world is with them in spirit and hope. Thank you.