Online Conference on Iran Regime’s Terrorism in Europe
22nd October 2020
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The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held an online conference today over the Iranian regime’s terrorism in Europe. This event was attended by a number of political dignitaries from both sides of the Atlantic.
Farzin Hashemi, member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee
Assadollah Assadi, Iran’s diplomat-terrorist on trial in Belgium for his role in a bomb plot targeting the 2018 “Free Iran” conference held by the NCRI back in 2018, from the very beginning tried to raise Vienna Conventions to escape prosecution. This terrorist plot was ordered and blueprinted in Tehran at the highest level of Iranian regime leadership, including the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
Despite the fact that the EU has acknowledged the role of the regime, they have so far refrained from taking concrete action. We hope this will change and they will take a more firm policy toward the Iranian regime.
Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI President-elect
Today, we are dealing with a unique case. For the first time, a so-called diplomat carrying a bomb with him is being prosecuted in Europe.
On July 2, 2018, while a diplomat-terrorist of the regime carrying a bomb had been arrested, the mullahs’ foreign minister commented about the bombing plot at Villepinte saying that this was a “false flag operation” on the verge of the regime’s President’s visit to Austria.
In February 2019, at a conference in Munich, Zarif said: “It could be a false flag operation.
It could have been an entrapment. It could have been a rogue operation.”
The mullahs’ foreign minister had forgotten that he had denied any arbitrary action in the religious tyranny during his remarks on the fifth of November 2018 at the regime’s parliament.
While defending the nuclear deal, Zarif told his adversaries, “We are not an institution to act by ourselves. Is it possible to do something in this country without reporting?”
In my seven-hour testimony during the investigation, I provided details of the decision-making and the enabling process of this operation.
I stressed again that the decision for this operation had been made by Khamenei, Rouhani, Zarif, Alavi, the regime’s intelligence minister, and implemented only afterwards. This is not something new for us.
I leave a discussion of the legal aspects of the case to the distinguished and competent lawyers.
But I want to make a few points here:
- European countries must set aside all political considerations in this case. The regime’s leaders must be prosecuted and they must face justice. This is a necessary and a preventive measure against terrorism under the name of Islam with the clerical regime as its central banker.
- Khamenei and Rouhani took a great risk by sending a diplomat to carry out the bombing and slaughter. The reason is that they are extremely vulnerable in the face of the people’s uprisings, the spread of the Resistance’s influence, and the overthrow of their regime.
- The policy of appeasement has greatly emboldened the regime over the past 40 years. To the extent that their diplomat, who is arrested, makes threats of more terrorist operations even from inside prison.
Today, the European Union is facing a serious and historic test in the face of terrorism under the banner of Islam.
So, what is the EU going to do with the epicenter of terrorism?
- The entire Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGCmust be designated as terrorist entities.
- Agents of the Intelligence Ministry and the Quds Forcemust be prosecuted, brought to justice, and expelled.
- The regime’s embassies and their so-called religious and cultural centers must be shut down.
These are indispensable to ensure the security of Europe, and especially the security of Iranian refugees and dissidents. This will bring about the friendship and support of the Iranian people.
William Bourdon, renowned lawyer of human rights and international criminal law
This is an unprecedented trial for two reasons. The bomb plot could have been devastating. Also, we know that the direct implication of the Iranian state in this disgusting crime is now established. We will make sure that the decision of the judge reflects the seriousness of the crime. For everyone in Europe and elsewhere, it will be clear that next to the four indicted will be sitting the Iranian regime itself. We are sure that it is indispensable that this diplomat represented a state.
Rik Vanreusel, criminal law lawyer
On November 27, the case will be heard by the court. The investigation has taken two years. We have introduced our first written memorandum and received the argument of the defense. It is a bit surprising that the secret agent is trying to invoke the Geneva Conventions. You cannot pretend to be a diplomat when you are caught trying to bomb a civilian population.
The fifth party will be the Iranian regime, and it might in fact be the first party in this trial.
We expect the verdict to be announced at the end of November, beginning of December. This is a case that symbolizes the protection of European values against dictators. Iranian opposition members are citizens. We will not allow secret agents to commit terrorism under the guise of diplomats.
Christophe Marchand, lawyer of international criminal law
This is one of the most important terrorism cases in the 21st century. This is an attack on democracy, on human rights. The fact that the victims attacked in this case, the NCRI, have been the target of systematic attacks by the regime, and have failed, the Iranian regime has had no other response but to use terrorism to harm the opposition.
One of the defendants claims to have diplomatic immunity. But if he does so, then he also accepts responsibility by the regime for this horrible act. We have a solid judicial system, and we will not accept this authoritarian regime to attack and harm innocent people in this horrible way. At the end of the day, immunity is not impunity, and the people who were responsible for this act will be punished.
John Sano, Adjunct Professor, The Institute of World Politics; Former Deputy Director, National Clandestine Service, CIA
Assadi spent a lot of time in Iraq targeting the MEK and U.S. forces. He personally delivered explosives to two other operatives in the Paris case. There should be more international outrage toward this crime. Assadi had the audacity to threaten authorities. It is indicative how brutal the MOIS can be.
The MOIS operates worldwide and uses different methods, through official diplomatic channels and other covers. The MOIS sees their only goal as protecting the regime. In terms of how the MOIS operates, it is a terrorist organization. They are only beholden to the supreme leader. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force are required to report to the MOIS.
The MOIS is also engaged in disinformation. They are attempting to manipulate the opposition or try to obtain information. During my career in intelligence, I have encountered MOIS operatives. The breadth of their coverage and their authority are unmatched. They are the ones who spread false rumors about the Iranian regime and the opposition. They manipulate the media to plant false stories in the press about the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. Even in the Assadi case, the MOIS attempted to lay the blame on the MEK.
It is important that the MOIS and the mullahs in Iran be held accountable for their atrocities.
Former Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi
The beginning of the trial is an important chance to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its crimes. We don’t need further proof that this regime is the number one state-sponsor of terrorism. Assadi is not an exception. He is the normality.
Terrorism is in all regime embassies. It is unprecedented for a sovereign state, a UN member, to use its diplomatic apparatus to develop terrorist activities. The case reveals volumes about the nature of the Iranian theocracy. We cannot wait any longer to implement a strategy of maximum pressure against this regime of assassins. The regime must understand that it will pay a heavy price.
Iranian embassies and governmental institutions and offices involved in these operations must be promptly closed. The European Union still does not see Iran as a fundamental threat against its citizens. Some regime opponents assassinated by the regime were European citizens. The EU did not react to the threat posed by Assadi against its authorities. The EU must be much louder and clear against these intimidations by terrorists who belong to the criminal regime of Iran.
Robert Torricelli, former U.S. senator
While a trial is proceeding on a case in which diplomats were engaged in an alleged terrorism case, some of the governments involved in the case are saying Iran should be allowed to sell and purchase arms. We all recognize that while all defendants are equal, all crimes are not. There is the crime against the individual, and then there are crimes against the society itself. That is this case here. It could have taken some of our lives. But the choice of Paris was not by chance. This was an attack not simply on us as individuals, but on European democracy, western values.
I am impressed that the case has gone this far. But in fact, it is yet to be determined whether we fully meet the challenge. If you sit in Tehran today, while they did not take our lives, on balance, so far, the attack was a success. There was an element of intimidation. No one in the regime has been indicted. No consuls have been closed. No diplomats have been sent home. Let’s contrast this with what Albania did in response to a terrorist attempt on its soil. The relations between the regime and Albania are clearly different now.
I hope that the courage and skills of our lawyers are matched by those of the governments that are involved. The burden is now on all of us if we want to assure that no one else is a victim of state-sponsored terrorism.
Robert Joseph, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
It is incumbent on all of us to stand up against terrorism. If we seek to appease those who commit these crimes, we would only encourage more attacks, more crimes, and we will be complicit in these crimes. This attempt was part of an orchestrated campaign directed at the highest levels of the regime. This continues today.
In Europe alone, Iranian agents have operated lethal attempts across the continent. In the current case, the terrorist diplomat was caught red-handed as he was handing explosives to his accomplices. The only response of the jailed agent has been to threaten more deaths if he is convicted.
What does this planned terrorist attack tell us about the regime? It is desperate. It is killing people in the streets. It has aligned itself with the Assad regime. All of these acts show the desperation of the regime. This regime will not moderate its behavior. And this is a regime that has lost all legitimacy with its own people. The people are now the greatest threat to the regime.
As a matter of policy and principle, we must support human rights and democracy in Iran. We must support the democratic opposition inside and outside of Iran. We know regime change comes from inside Iran.
The ten-point plan of the NCRI, calling for democracy and respect of human rights, provides a pathway for insurance against a failed state. Finally, we must not throw the regime a lifeline to continue its threats. We must not return to appeasement. The central problem is not the absence of negotiations and particular agreements. The central problem is the regime itself.
Claude Moniquet, former French intelligence officer
The decision to resort to terrorism is carried out by the regime’s Supreme National Security Council, where there are key centers of power, including the supreme leader, the president, the speaker of parliament, and the IRGC commander. All of these people are concerned when terror is used as a political tool.
The regime tried to say that Assadi was a rogue element. It must be clear that rogue elements do not exist in the regime. When it comes to serious concerns of the regime, there is no independent elements who carry out terror attacks.
We should expect further terror attempts against European states. The regime exerts pressure on the French government to ask Belgium to not prosecute Assadi. Therefore, France could be a target for further terrorism. This is the nature of this regime.
Since the 1980s and 1990s, the regime has conducted several terror operations against European interests in Europe and other parts of the world. There was no firm European answer to those threats and actions, and Tehran understood that it could continue to attack Europe to get what it sought.
The only question today is what the EU should and will do after the trial, if Assadi is convicted, which by extension will be to all the regime, they must be held to account for this crime.
Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chair of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee
This was a decision by the entire government, the entire regime. The main reason for this plot, according to documents we submitted to the judicial system, was the MEK’s role in protests and uprisings inside Iran.
The plan the regime had in Villepinte was an extensive crime against humanity. It was not an ordinary operation. They wanted to conduct a mass killing. At this moment, the reaction of the European Union is very important. While I appreciate the activities of security services in Belgium and other countries, I must reiterate that political decision makers in the EU should have an appropriate reaction to this major crime. This is a historical test or challenge for the EU, whether they want to stand on their democratic standards or alongside a terrorist regime. This regime will fall.
We call for the embassies of this regime to be closed. All agents of the regime must be expelled from European countries.
Struan Stevenson, former Member of the European Parliament from Scotland
Diplomats enjoy special privileges. Assadi violated each of the core principles of diplomacy. He’s a known undercover agent of the Iranian regime’s intelligence service. It is clear Assadi could have only acted under orders from the highest leaders of the regime. The terrorists must face European justice. But this trial must also establish the patrons of this crime. They should be indicted.
Tahar Boumedra, former senior UN official in Iraq
Two basic tenants characterize the regime. First, the establishment of the IRGC. Second, the export of its ideology. We have already seen what the regime can do in the 1988 massacre. The regime is striving to obtain nuclear bombs. The act being prosecuted in Belgium stems from the ideology of the regime and was decided at the highest level of the Islamic Republic of Iran.