Gen. James Jones, 22nd United States National Security Advisor addressed an online global conference on the conviction of Iran’s diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi by a Belgian court for attempting to bomb the 2018 Free Iran gathering in Paris.
On February 4, 2021, simultaneous with the court ruling against the Iranian regime’s diplomat-terrorist, Assadollah Assadi, and his accomplices in Antwerp, Belgium, a global online conference was held, where Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and dozens of prominent figures from various European countries, the United States and Canada, joined thousands of Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) members based in Ashraf-3 (Albania) as well as the supporters of the Iranian Resistance worldwide.
The Belgian court rejected Assadollah Assadi’s claim of diplomatic immunity and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. The three intelligence agents, Nasimeh Naami, Mehrdad Arefani, and Amir Saadouni, were sentenced to 18, 17, and 15 years in prison, respectively. Their Belgian citizenships was also revoked.
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.