- An Iranian diplomat and three others were brought to justice in Belgium on charges of planning a terrorist attack at a demonstration where Rudy Giuliani was the general rapporteur.
- Iranian Assadollah Assadi was not on the dock because he demanded diplomatic immunity.
- Maryam Rajavi, leader of the exiled Iranian opposition group MEK, was the main target of the attack.
- If the powerful bomb had exploded, it could have caused bloodshed in the 25,000-strong crowd.
- Other prominent public figures, including Newt Gingrich, former chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives.
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An Iranian diplomat went to court in Belgium in a planned terrorist attack on a demonstration where Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker.
Assadi asadollah, a 48-year-old diplomat who previously lived in Vienna, is sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors said the target of the attack was a demonstration in Villepinte, France, on June 30, 2018, organized by the Political Army of the National Resistance Council of Iran (NCRI), the People’s Mojahedin of Iran or the Mujahedeen. e-Khalq (MEK).
The group is seen by Iran as a terrorist organization and a major enemy. MEK leader Maryam Rajavi was the main target of the attack, the court heard.
At the last minute, during an international police operation, a Belgian couple of Iranian descent was stopped in a suburb of Brussels on the day of the demonstration. They claimed they were on driving leave, the AP said.
However, Amir Saadouni and Nasimeh Naami met Assadi in an Pizza Hut, an Iranian diplomat who served as a third adviser at the country’s embassy in Vienna, Austria, the BBC added. Following Mossad’s hint, a Belgian civilian officer in the Israeli secret service watched as Assadi handed them a package containing a massive explosive, the New York Times reported.
The couple denied knowing they had been bombed. Naami said he thought it contained fireworks, ABC News wrote.
According to the Belgian bomb storage unit, 550 grams of ready-to-use triacetone triperoxide (TATP) was found “wrapped in plastic and hidden in the lining of a vanity case” in the couple’s Mercedes, writes The Washington Post.
A digital remote control was also found in a small bag belonging to Naami that contained feminine hygiene items, as well as a red notebook in Assadi’s car with instructions on how to use the bomb, ABC News added.
If the powerful bomb had exploded, it could have reached a crowd of 25,000 and other prominent public figures, including Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and several British MPs.
TATP was used when suicide bombers killed 32 people in a 2016 attack on a Brussels metro and airport.
Assadi was also accused of paying the couple $ 14,000 and was arrested when he traveled through Germany on July 1, 2018, where he was not immune from criminal proceedings, France24 reported.
The Belgian State Security Service (VSSE) believes it worked for the Iranian Ministry No. 312, the Directorate of Internal Security, which is on the list of EU terrorist organizations, writes The New York Times.
He allegedly recruited the couple to obtain information about the Iranian opposition and worked with a fourth suspect, Mehrdad Arefani, an Iranian poet and AP resident in Brussels.
Text messages and emails between the four suspects revealed that a code had been used to communicate and the explosive device was called “PlayStation 4,” The Washington Post reported.
All of them have been charged with attempting a terrorist attack and the activities of a terrorist group and could face life imprisonment.
The trial began yesterday, with a verdict expected early next year.
Assadi was not in the dock, demanding diplomatic immunity.
Ran denied an allegedly failed attack, according to France 24.
Rajavi, the head of the MEK, said Assadi had received instructions from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s chief leader, but the AP said he had not provided any evidence.
Until 2012, MEK was on the U.S. and EU terrorist list. After condemning the violence, he recruited Western politicians to lobby on his behalf, the AP reported. He supports Donald Trump’s U.S. sanctions against him, gaining huge allies like Rudy Giuliani, the BBC writes.