On February 4, a Belgian court sentenced an Iranian diplomat and his three accomplices to long-term prison for plotting to bomb a major Iranian opposition rally back in June 2018 in Paris.

The Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which hosted the 2018 gathering, held a virtual briefing featuring a panel of renowned American politicians discussing the evidence linking the role of Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif in the bomb plot.

The virtual event moderated by Ali Reza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the NCRI U.S. Representative Office. The panel included Gov. Tom Ridge, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Senator Robert Torricelli, Amb. Robert Joseph, former Undersecretary of the State for Arms Control and International Security, Amb. Marc Ginsberg, former White House Middle East Advisor, Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield, Distinguished Fellow and Chairman Emeritus at the Stimson Center, and NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee member Farzin Hashemi.

NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee Member Farzin Hashemi

“Today is a historic day and this is a historic judgment by the court in Antwerp. Over the past two-and-half years, the regime did all it could to derail the trial. They first raised diplomatic immunity for Assadi, which was rejected. They also put diplomatic pressure on European countries. When that didn’t work, Assadi directly threatened the investigators,” said Farzin Hashemi.

Hashemi also highlighted the Iranian regime’s tactic to use dual nationals as hostages and free its terrorist in a captive swap. “Before the trial, the regime announced that it would be executing one of the hostages [Ahmadreza Djalali]. The Belgian judiciary also acknowledged that the regime has proposed prisoner swaps, which Belgium has rejected,” Hashemi praised the Belgian Judiciary’s independence.

“What the court said today was the confirmation that what we are facing is state terrorism. For many years, there has been a false notion that the terrorist activities attributed to the regime are the works of rogue elements. But this file clearly shows that the entirety of the regime was involved. The decision was made at the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and approved by [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei. It was closely coordinated with the Foreign Ministry,” the NCRI member pointed out to the direct role of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic apparatuses in terrorism.

Hashemi ended his remarks by calling the international community to designate the Iranian regime as a state-sponsor of terrorism. “This was a turning point and it is time for the world to recognize this is a regime that is a state sponsor of terrorism, and they must also recognize the Iranian people’s desire for regime change at their own hands and that of their resistance movement. It is time for a new Iran policy,” he concluded.

Deputy Director of the NCRI U.S. Representative Office Ali Reza Jafarzadeh

Following Hashemi’s remarks, the event moderator provided details about the Iranian regime’s hierarchy for implementing the Paris bomb plot. He highlighted the role of Ali Khamenei as the regime’s final-say official, and President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, and SNSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani as the SNSC members.

Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Gov. Tom Ridge

Gov. Ridge as the attack’s potential victim bolded the regime’s responsibility, in its entirety, for the bomb plot. “This was a reminder to the world that this was a state-sponsored terrorist act. There were a series of acts that show this is a country that has acted with impunity and audacity and against the norms of civil society,” said Gov. Tom Ridge.

“They have brought chaos and destruction to advance their own ends. The truth is, this is a pariah state and they have acted that way for the past forty years. This is just the most recent terrorist event,” he added.

Senator Robert Torricelli

Senator Torricelli imagined the possible consequences of the plot if it was succeeded. “It is hard to overstate the significance of what has happened. A sovereign nation, a member of the United Nations that has diplomatic relations with the European Union, has had one of its diplomatic agents convicted of committing an act of terror in the heart of Europe, to potentially kill scores of people,” he said.

“What if the bomb had exploded as planned? I was at that rally, so was the former Prime Minister of Canada, cabinet ministers of Germany, France, and Italy. Members of parliament from Europe and the U.S., along with the military staff. The plan was to assassinate NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, but many of these people would have been murdered,” Senator Torricelli added.

He also highlighted Zarif’s role and condemned negotiations with terrorists. “Continuing diplomatic relations with Iran in the face of what might have been being to ignore reality. Countries have serious thinking to do. If the intent of the Biden administration is to re-engage with Tehran on nuclear negotiations, they must consider who will be sitting across the table. Zarif? his agents? People who were sent to kill us?” he said.

Former U.S. Under Secretary of State Amb. Robert Joseph

“This is truly a historic day. It is also a day of total vindication for NCRI and the cause of freedom in Iran. The question before us is what action policymakers should take,” said Amb. Robert Joseph.

“This was a deliberate act of terrorism ordered and conducted by the Iranian regime. Assadi was not acting alone and he was not a rogue agent. He received orders from Tehran. He took personal possession of the bomb. Assadi used his diplomatic status as cover for his terrorist activities and there is no doubt that the regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was fully aware of his identity,” he added.

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield

“What we have seen is that law enforcement and criminal justice authorities in several European countries have had to deal with the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities,” said Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield.

“What did Zarif say? That this is a false flag operation, that the MEK was going to blow up its own supporters at the event. Now Zarif is lecturing the world to abide by international law,” he added.

“At some point, the U.S. has to realize that we have made gesture after gesture to Iran. For 41 years, this regime has always acted in bad faith. They are still attacking us through proxies. They are aiming the nuclear gun at the rest of the world. They are trying to hold us hostage,” Amb. Bloomfield stressed.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Deputy Senior Advisor to the U.S. President for Middle East Policy Amb. Marc Ginsberg

“The JCPOA under the Obama administration was viewed as a “get out of jail” card for the regime. Money flowed to the regime and Zarif became a celebrity. There were hopes the regime would moderate. The facts are basically clear. The JCPOA provided the regime more time to evade sanctions, to gain hard currency, to plot terrorist attacks, to harm our allies, and to continue to plan its nuclear weapons program,” said Amb. Marc Ginsberg.

“I do not know what we have to gain from entering the same agreement. The real problem in the last negotiation was that Iran set the terms. That can no longer be the strategy for the Biden administration. We have a responsibility that we take all these recommendations from our allies and Congress to make sure that this does not happen again,” he added.

Source » irannewsupdate