728 x 90

Iran: Regime foreign minister frustrated over conviction of terrorist diplomat Assadollah Assadi

A Belgian court sentenced Assadollah Assadi, a career Iranian diplomat, to 20 years in prison on terrorism charges
A Belgian court sentenced Assadollah Assadi, a career Iranian diplomat, to 20 years in prison on terrorism charges

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, February 12, 2021—The Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif acknowledged the regime’s major defeat following Antwerp’s court verdict against Assadollah Assadi, a career diplomat who was caught by European authorities while he was plotting to bomb a major Iranian opposition rally in France. Assadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his leading role in the terrorist plot. Three other co-conspirators in the attack were sentenced to 15-18 years in prison each.

In an interview with the State-run TV on February 8, Zarif said that despite many protests to the German, Belgian and Austrian government, they did not recognize the “diplomatic immunity of Assadollah Assadi.”

“From the beginning through diplomatic and intelligence channels and dialogue with intelligence services we tried to find a way to protect his rights as a diplomat and secure his return to Iran and these efforts are still continuing,” Zarif said.

During the court proceedings, the Belgian judge denied Assadi’s claims to diplomatic immunity because he was out of his jurisdiction and was involved in a major terror plot, which would have stripped him of his diplomatic status even if he was in his country of service.

Also, on February 9, the regime’s Foreign Ministry summoned Belgian Ambassador in Tehran and wrote on its website:

“Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the Belgian ambassador to Tehran to express the Islamic Republic's strong protest an illegal verdict issued by the Antwerp Law Court against Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi. The top Belgian diplomat was summoned by the director-general for Western Europe affairs at the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and received a strong written note of protest by Tehran over the court ruling. In the Tuesday meeting, the Iranian official underlined that the Belgian court ruling was in breach of international law and amounted to a violation of Belgium’s commitments with regards to Iran. Therefore, he added, Iran does not recognize the court verdict, whatsoever.”

The Belgian press wrote that Assadollah Assadi was not just a “diplomat” but an agent of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) who ran a network of Iranian spies and secret agents. In his rented red Ford S-Max, there was a ton of evidence that revealed much about Assadi’s terrorist plans and the Iranian regime’s modus operandi. A black notebook contained the bomb instructions and a 200-page green notebook that contained receipts showing Assadi had distributed a large amount of cash among various agents in Europe. It included addresses of resorts, shops, hotels, and restaurants Assadi had visited. In each case, the time and date were mentioned.

The Belgian media also wrote that the regime is putting the Belgian ambassador in Tehran under pressure, but Belgium is a democratic state and a country where the judiciary is independent of the executive branch.

In addition, as a “diplomat” and MOIS agent, Assadi was connected to the command hierarchy of two ministries. This means both Zarif as the Foreign Minister and Mahmoud Alavi Intelligence Minister were directly aware of the facts.

But to run away from the international consequences, on July 2, 2018, Zarif called the bombing plot a “false flag operation” and tried to blame the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) for plotting to attack itself. Interestingly, in the last 40 years, this has always been one of the main tactics of the regime against the MEK. For instance, the regime called the massacre in Camp Ashraf in 2013 by the Iran-backed government of Iraq “an internal conflict of the MEK.” But video footage showed Iraqi special armed forces entering the camp and killing unarmed and defenseless residents.

The regime failed in the last two-and-half years to release Assadi and prevent the court from making its ruling. Back in February 2020, Assadi openly threatened Belgium that “his case was being closely watched by undisclosed groups in Iran and neighboring countries” and warned them about the consequences of “an unfavorable verdict.”

Assadi’s condemnation raised many concerns among the regime’s MOIS agents and officials. The Basij News, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guard's (IRGC) much-hated paramilitary force Basij, warned on February 9 that this verdict could have consequences for other regime diplomats and officials in various countries.

“There are reports about subsequent dangerous similar action against other diplomats and associates in other countries,” Basij News wrote.