The Assadolah Assadi trial also put Iran on trial
Assadolah Assadi, who served as an Iranian diplomat in Vienna, Austria, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a 2018 bomb plot to kill top leaders of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) during an annual conference near Paris. This historic decision recognizes Iran's role in international terrorism.
Assadi was arrested in Germany on July 1, 2018, while traveling in a rental car to Vienna, where he worked as the third adviser at the Iranian embassy. The day before, Belgian police had arrested a couple with a powerful bomb in a suitcase. It was alleged that Assadi had handed the bomb to them shortly before.
It's an open secret that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the center for terrorism coordination for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps's Quds Force and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security Services (VAVAK) for the past three decades. Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, and the regime's foreign ministry have always worked with the supreme leader, the IRGC, and VAVAK to export terrorism and religious fundamentalism, to acquire atomic bombs, and to produce ballistic missiles.
To this end, the Foreign Ministry uses its diplomatic facilities to carry out terrorist plots and transfer bombs through diplomatic channels and its diplomatic immunity to spy on opposition groups. Without cooperation from the Foreign Ministry, Khamenei and the IRGC's Quds Force would be limited in what they can do abroad.
To get a sense of the close relationship between the Foreign Ministry and the Quds force, Zarif said once, "Qasem Soleimani and I never felt a dichotomy. We worked closely together for more than 20 years." He also said (my translation):
When I was in charge of representing Iran in New York during the US invasion of Iraq, and I was talking to US officials on the orders of the country's top officials, and I had the most coordination with Sardar Soleimani[.] ... After that, during my ministry, Sardar Soleimani and I decided that whenever we were both in Tehran, we would meet at least once a week to review the latest developments and make the necessary coordination.
President Rouhani may be Iran's ostensible leader, but Khamenei and Quds were calling the shots.
Or, as Zarif declared on November 5, 2018: "We are not an organization to act on our own[.] ... Can we do anything in this country without reporting? It's not that we wanted to do something against the supreme leader's orders."
Assadi's conviction represents a European court's recognition that Iran's foreign ministry is involved in exporting terrorism, including transferring ammunition and weapons to terrorists, money-laundering, and providing travel documents and organized guidance for spies. Between 2016 and 2020, seven regime terrorist diplomats, including an ambassador, were expelled from Europe for their involvement in terrorist plots.
Assadi, rather than being a low-level staffer in the Vienna embassy, was, in fact, a high-ranking Iranian regime intelligence officer who, in the guise of a diplomat, led a network of spies and informants in eleven countries, including Germany, France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy and transferring cash to spies for their wages.
When he was arrested, German police had not only discovered a black notebook with cryptographic inscriptions and code words, apparently instructions for the bombers, but also found a 200-page green notebook in the car. It contains a total of 289 handwritten notes, many of which are written in Latin and Persian scripts, most of which contain details about important European centers.
For example, the notebook contained the address of the Islamic Center of Hamburg, which is under surveillance by the Office for Protection of the Constitution and is trying to "export the Islamic Revolution." The notebook also contained details of Assadi's money deliveries, ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 euros.
The Assadi trial exposed the Iranian government's role — at the very highest levels — in exporting terrorism. That in itself is something of a victory against a regime that has been in a perpetual state of war against the West since 1979.