Amb. Robert Joseph, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security 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.
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.