The Belgian court convicted Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi and three co-conspirators on Thursday of trying to blow up the 2018 Free Iran rally in France, sentencing them to a total of 70 years in prison.
Assadi, who organized the plot, was sentenced to 20 years, after the court found that he had abused his diplomatic status to smuggle in the bomb and drive it across to his accomplices.
In an online conference shortly after the verdict, the former US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ambassador Robert Joseph said that it was time for the West 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”.
Joseph called the verdict “total vindication for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)] and for the cause of a free Iran”, but stressed that Western governments should use what they have learnt from the trial to amend their policy on Iran.
Reiterating the trial’s findings, he said: “This was a deliberate act of state terrorism ordered by and conducted by the Iranian regime… Assadi was not acting alone. He was not a rogue agent. He was in regular contact with higher-level officials in Tehran, receiving his orders from them… 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. And there can be no doubt that his true identity was known within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, making the MFA complicit in this terrorist act.”
Joseph advised that while this was the first time an Iranian official was found guilty of state-sponsored terrorism, which only displays how desperate the regime is to suppress the legitimate resistance with the hope of maintaining power, it is not the first time that this has happened and, if nothing is done, it will not be the last.
He said: “It’s now time for the government 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 the designation of the MOIS [Intelligence Ministry] and IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] as terrorist entities, as [opposition leader Maryam] Rajavi has stated, withdrawing the legal status of all of the regime’s agents in Europe, and reducing, dramatically reducing the level of diplomatic relations until the regime has demonstrated its commitment to forgo terrorist activities.”
Joseph then called on the US government not to appease the Iranian regime over appealing to supposed moderates, like Foreign Minister Javad Zarif who would have given Assadi’s direct orders, lest it make the US complicit in further attacks by Iran.