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.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh spoke publicly for the first time on January 24, about the terrorism trial of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, just days before a verdict was due, but instead of condemning terrorism, Khatibzadeh just denied responsibility and tried to blame the victims.

In an op-ed, former European Parliament Vice-President Alejo Vidal-Quadras said that this further proved why Europe and the West should shift their policies on Iran and hold the mullahs to account following Assadi’s likely conviction for attempting to blow up an opposition rally in 2018.

Quick Rundown of the Accusations Against Assadollah Assadi

  • He smuggled explosives into Europe in his diplomatic luggage
  • Met with accomplices Nasimeh Na’ami and Amir Saadouni in Luxembourg to hand over the explosives in person
  • Told them to place the bomb as close as possible to opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, who was also surrounded by foreign dignitaries throughout the event, with the intention of killing thousands of attendees in the explosion and subsequent panic

“It should not be necessary to point to the potential impact of the plot in order to rebut the recent statement from [Khatibzadeh]. But it very clearly underlines the absurdity of his claim that Assadi was somehow the victim of a ‘complicated trap set up using the [opposition],’” Vidal-Quadras wrote.

“Of course, this position [is] extremely difficult to maintain as details emerged of the case against Assadi. Tehran could not reasonably expect anyone to believe either that the [opposition] was willing to incur mass casualties among its own ranks or that it had set a plot into motion while specifically counting on European agencies to prevent it from reaching its conclusion,” former EP Vice-President added.

EU Must Address Iran’s State Terrorism

The regime also failed to counter the allegations that Assadi planned the attack or throw him under the bus as a rogue agent, so they blindly claimed that he had diplomatic immunity and that he was being set up.

To be clear, you don’t actually need immunity if you’re being falsely accused, but this seems to be a case of throwing everything and seeing what sticks.

Also, Assadi doesn’t have immunity because he was arrested outside of Austria, where he was stationed, and this would likely have been rescinded anyway given that he is accused of terrorism.

“Tehran’s insistence to the contrary is increasingly desperate… Prosecutors have requested the maximum sentence of 20 years for the terrorist-diplomat and slightly lesser sentences for the would-be bombers and a fourth accomplice,” Vidal-Quadras mentioned.

“But those same prosecutors have also seemingly contributed to the argument that these convictions should only be the start of a broader European response to the Iranian terror threat,” former EP Vice-President continued.

Indeed, the prosecutors have said on multiple occasions that Assadi was working on behalf of those at the highest levels of the regime and that he has a vast network of terrorist assets in at least 11 European countries, which pose a threat to the entire continent.

Tehran Doesn’t Limit Its Terrorism to a Single Bombing

“Western powers must anticipate the Iranian terror threat and recognize that it will continue its terrorist activities on their soil unless sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and multinational investigations make clear in advance that there will be consequences for doing so,” Vidal-Quadras wrote.

“Shutting down Iran’s embassies in European countries and expelling its agents would be a serious step to demonstrate that Europe is serious about the activities of a state sponsor of terrorism,” he ended.