High-ranking officials in Iran were behind Paris bomb plot
Most American are at least vaguely aware of Iran's designation as a "state sponsor of terror." It's completely true, and in an incident that unfolded in France and Belgium just a few days ago, there's outstanding proof.
Belgian police authorities arrested a young couple on Saturday, June 30, in a Brussels district. The man, Amir S., aged 38, and the woman, Nasimeh N., aged 33, are both Belgian citizens of Iranian origin. A search of their Mercedes turned up 500 grams of TATP (triacetone triperoxide, an explosive chemical compound so powerful that it's known as the "Mother of Satan"), which is used by terrorists, along with a detonator hidden in a small cosmetic kit.
According to a release from Germany's public prosecutor general on July 11, 2018, they were linked to an Iranian diplomat, a 46- or 47-year-old Iranian citizen named Assadollah Assadi. The report states he was also an employee of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, which is mainly tasked with spying on and thwarting opposition groups, both inside and outside Iran.
The German federal prosecutor announced in the officer's statement on July 11 that the German judiciary had ordered the arrest of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat, on charges of espionage and collaboration for murder, all in connection with this case.
Belgian security and prosecutors previously described the two arrested terrorists in Belgium as one of the regime's "sleeper cells" that had been directed by Assadi for many years. This was reported by De Standaard on July 4 and then NBC News on July 6.
The grand gathering that was the target for the terrorists was the conference near Paris organized by the People's Mujahedin of Iran. That was the gathering reported here and here, where close Donald Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, former FBI director Louis Freeh, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich spoke – three of the many prominent Americans of differing political stripes who have publicly supported the prominent Iranian pro-democracy group.
Above is a National Council of Resistance of Iran picture from the large gathering less than three weeks ago.
Here is the former mayor of New York and President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, speaking at the event:
Assadollah Assadi, Iranian diplomat.
According to news reports, "The couple had picked up the TATP in Luxembourg from him and "were fully aware of the risk involved of using this unstable explosive; they had every intention of using it. ... They were not naïve."
This was according to the statement by the prosecutor that "the couple said the Iranian regime's agent, Assadollah Asadi, threatened them into doing this terror attack.
Shortly after the couple were apprehended, Assadi, the Iranian diplomat, was arrested in the Bavarian state in Germany on suspicion of aiding the planned terror attack in Paris. Police stopped Assadi and his three companions at a service station at Spessart-Süd near Aschaffenburg. During the operation, explosives specialists from the Bavarian State Criminal Police and Bavarian riot police came to the scene, encompassing more than 20 vehicles, as the A3 autobahn was shut down, said police in Unterfranken in a statement.
In addition, three other people were arrested in France in connection with the bomb plot. Following the arrests, Belgian authorities also conducted five raids in different parts of the country but did not elaborate on whether anything was found.
A spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor said Wednesday that the intended target was the annual convention of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political affiliate of the MEK, the Mojahedin-e Khalq or "Peoples' Mujahedin of Iran."
When asked if the Iranian diplomat was an agent of any of Iran's security services, a Belgian judicial source replied, "Practically all employees of Iranian embassies are part of the Iranian Secret Service." (This was reported by NBCnews.com on July 6.)
Giuliani said all participants at the rally were grateful to law enforcement in Belgium and France for stopping an attack on a "gathering supporting freedom from the theocratic oppressive regime in Iran."
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation in May, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said, providing no details, that "today, the Iranian Quds Force conducts covert assassination operations in the heart of Europe." The State Department declined comment on the statement.
In a statement, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, president, International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) and former vice president of the European Parliament (1999-2014), said:
This shows the level of importance the Iranian regime gives to [the] movement led by (NCRI leader) Mrs. Maryam Rajavi who represents the democratic alternative to the theocratic regime. The NCRI ten-point plan includes freedom of speech, association and religion, separation of religion and state, equality between men and women, abolition of the death penalty, a non-nuclear Iran, and the free and transparent election of a constitutional assembly within the first six months after regime change. In January, the Iranian regime's president, Hassan Rouhani, had called President Emmanuel Macron to demand [that] France ... prevent the activities of Mrs. Rajavi.
This new terror attempt with political motives in Europe requires the immediate condemnation of the Iranian regime. It would be helpful if the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and all EU member states joined this condemnation.
Iran's regime has a history of plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks against its opponents in Europe. In 1997, the E.U. withdrew its ambassadors from Iran and expelled Iranian diplomats from Europe following the infamous Berlin Mykonos restaurant assassinations of Iranian Kurdish dissidents.
In the wake of this new plot and following the wave of assassination of several Iranian opponents last year, including some in the Netherlands and Turkey, the E.U. should now demand the closure of Iran's embassies and expel Iranian diplomats from Europe.
Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate, specializing in political and economic issues relating to Iran and the Middle East.