Amb. Mitchell Reiss, former U.S. State Department Director of Policy Planning 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. 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.