Iranian diplomat accused of terrorist plot at meeting in Paris

0
46


An Iranian diplomat has been accused of plotting to bomb a massive French political event in which President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani participated – but invoked immunity to avoid attending the start of his trial on Friday.Assadollah Assadi, 48, is accused of orchestrating the attempted attack during a June 2018 meeting in Paris of one of the opposition movements in Iranian exile, in which British and American politicians participated, including including Trump’s allies.

This was only thwarted after Belgian police stopped a Mercedes on its way to France, carrying 550 grams of the TATP “Mother of Satan” explosive and a detonator.

Lawyers for one of the alleged targets, the exiled opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, insisted the plot was “on order from Tehran,” which “authorized the death of thousands of people ”.

At least 25,000 people were in the French town of Villepinte, north of Paris, that day, officials said.

A British politician who was there, MP Bob Blackman, told The Sun that the bombing could have sparked a new world war.

“The United States would undoubtedly have declared war on Iran – and only because the plot was foiled was World War III avoided,” Blackman told the British newspaper.

Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Iran Freedom and Democracy Conference 2018.
Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Iran Freedom and Democracy Conference 2018.Anthony Devlin / Getty Images

Assadi is one of four Iranians facing up to 20 years in prison for “attempted murder of terrorists and participating in the activities of a terrorist group” for the plot.

But he refused to attend the opening of the trial in Belgium on Friday, insisting that “the court is not competent to try him” because of his diplomatic status, said his lawyer, Dimitri de Beco.

Assadi “has let me know that he has the utmost respect for these judges, but as he considers he should be granted immunity, they are not allowed to try him,” de Beco told Reuters.

The British delegation poses for a photo during a meeting in Paris of one of Iran's exiled opposition movements.
The British delegation poses for a photo during a meeting in Paris of one of Iran’s exiled opposition movements.Anthony Devlin / Getty Images

PMOI lawyers claimed – without providing any evidence – that Assadi was ordered not to attend by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. They insisted that diplomatic immunity does not equate to “impunity”.

Because he was arrested in Germany and his diplomatic accreditation was in Austria, Belgian prosecutors believe they have the right to prosecute, Agence France-Presse said. The judge said he would raise procedural issues at a second hearing scheduled for next week.

A lawyer from another group present at the rally, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), called it “an unprecedented historic trial,” AFP said.

Participants, including Rudy Giuliani, pose for a photo during a meeting in Paris of one of Iran's exiled opposition movements.
Participants, including Rudy Giuliani, pose for a photo during a meeting in Paris of one of Iran’s exiled opposition movements.Zakaria Abdelkafi / AFP via Getty Images

“This is the first time that, symbolically, the mullahs’ regime is on the dock and will be tried through the case against its so-called diplomats,” said William Bourdon in court.

Assadi did not cooperate with investigators and denies all charges.

The other three on trial all appeared in court. These are the couple accused of driving the explosives – Nasimeh Naami, 36, and Amir Saadouni, 40 – as well as an Iranian poet based in Belgium, Mehrdad Arefani, 57, who allegedly had frequent contact. phone calls with Assadi.

Police officers stand guard ahead of the trial of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assad in Antwerp, Belgium, today.
Police officers stand guard ahead of the trial of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assad in Antwerp, Belgium, today.Johanna Geron / Reuters

The trial is expected to last two days, Friday and Thursday next week, before being adjourned for a decision expected early next year, AFP said.

Iran has denied participating in the plot.

With pole wires

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here