The ruling against the Iranian diplomat Asadullah Asadi reignited talk about the espionage network led by Tehran against the countries of the European Union through diplomatic missions and religious and cultural centers. On February 4, 2021, the Antwerp court in Belgium approved a 20-year prison sentence against Asadi for his involvement in the attempt to blow up a People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) conference in France in 2018.

The court sentenced the Asadi to prison along with three others, who are Belgian citizens of Iranian origin. They were sentenced to terms ranging between 15 and 18 years, in addition to stripping them of their Belgian nationality. Amir Saadouni, 38, and his wife Nassima Noumni, 33, were in possession of explosive materials, and the investigations referred to a network that had prepared to blow up the Iranian opposition conference in Paris in June 2018, taking advantage of the legal procedures granted as for Asadi as a diplomat, who helped them transport explosives and inflammable materials in order to get rid of the opposition leaders.

This case caused great political confusion between Iran and the European countries involved in the case, namely France, Belgium and Germany. The trial took place in Belgium despite the attempt to carry out the attack in Paris, due to the participation of citizens of the country in the case and Brussels’ fear of the extension of networks loyal to the mullah regime on its soil that act as a platform to harm the country’s interests.

Iran’s objections to Asadi’s trial

For its part, Tehran objected to the ruling issued against Asadi, considering it contrary to the norms of international law, as the Russia News Network reported on February 4 that Iran had issued an official statement through its Foreign Ministry denouncing the ruling issued by the Belgian judiciary.

The Russian News Network quoted Iran’s statement as saying that the government affirms that the stages of litigation in Asadi’s case violate all international legal norms, international law and the Vienna Convention issued in 1961.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh pointed out that Belgium, along with other European countries, were affected by the negative propaganda that the PMOI had propagated against the country’s government. In a threatening tone, Khatibzadeh said that European countries should bear the consequences for their violation of the laws of international diplomatic work and the violation of Asadi’s human rights throughout his trial and the suffering he experienced as a result of periods of imprisonment in Brussels and Berlin.

Iranian terrorist networks

Asadi is a 49-year-old Iranian diplomat who worked at the Iranian embassy in the Austrian capital, Vienna, during his involvement in the attempted bombing of the PMOI conference. He is the main suspect who facilitated the arrival of explosives to the rest of the elements involved in the case with him. Asadi also worked for a period in the Iranian embassy in Iraq.

The last case comes within a series of European concerns about Iranian networks that threaten Europe’s security, whether through espionage or the implementation of terrorist operations at home as a form of pressure to obtain gains or pass agreements, especially the nuclear agreement around which an international debate is raging.

On January 28, 2019, the European Union’s Agency for Cybers​ecurity (ENISA) warned of cyber attacks carried out by Iran for the purpose of spying on European countries, the same file that the United Kingdom is complaining about Iranian espionage activities.

Source » theportal-center