This article is part of our series that explores Tehran’s terror activities and Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi‘s role in a bombing plot against the opposition rally in Paris in June 2018. On February 4, a Belgian court sentenced Assadi to 20 years in prison.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has acknowledged the huge blow dealt with the regime over the conviction of its diplomat Assadollah Assadi on terrorism charges in Belgium.
On State-run TV on February 8, Zarif repeated the lie that Assadi had diplomatic immunity and that Europe had ignored this.
He said: “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.”
Assadi was arrested in Germany after handing over a bomb in Luxembourg destined to blow up a rally in France. None of these countries are in Austria, where he was stationed, so it’s hard to see how immunity would apply. Even if he’d made it back to Vienna, Austria could (and probably would) have revoked the immunity based on the charges.
Assadi was jailed for 20 years on February 4, while his three accomplices each got between 15 and 18 years in prison, but the Belgian prosecutors made clear that they believed Assadi was working on behalf on the Iranian regime, including Zarif.
In the Belgian media, they said that Assadi was an agent of the Intelligence Ministry (MOIS), under the control of Mahmoud Alavi, and that police had uncovered a wealth of information about the 2018 bomb plot and a terrorism network across Europe in his car when they arrested him in July 2018.
On February 9, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s director-general for Western Europe affairs summoned the Belgian Ambassador to “express the Islamic Republic’s strong protest an illegal verdict” in the Assadi case and “underline” that the ruling breached international law and was “a violation of Belgium’s commitments with regards to Iran”.
The Ministry’s statement read: “Iran does not recognize the court verdict, whatsoever.”
The Belgian media responded that Iran is pressuring the Belgian ambassador, but that as a “democratic state”, the judiciary is independent of the executive branch.
The regime has failed over the past two and a half years to stop Assadi from facing justice, even as they tried to blame the Resistance, threaten Belgian prosecutors and the rest of Europe with terrorism, and falsely claim diplomatic immunity.
Now, his conviction is scaring the regime as they wonder who will have to face consequences next. That’s why the Basij News, affiliated with the hated paramilitary force of the same name, warned last week that this could mean trouble for other regime diplomats and officials; indicating that perhaps the whole system is mired in terrorism.