An Iranian community have welcomed the news a diplomat behind a failed bomb attack has been jailed for attempted murder and involvement in terrorism.
Assadollah Assadi, a 49-year-old diplomat based in Vienna, and three others were convicted of plotting to bomb an event being held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in June 2018 in Paris that was attended by five British MPs.
Among the MPs in attendance were Hendon’s Matthew Offord, Chipping Barnet’s Theresa Villiers, and Bob Blackman from Harrow East.
Assadi was found guilty alongside three accomplices, of trying to bomb the rally, on the orders of Iran’s government – a claim which has been denied by Tehran.
Assadi was given a maximum sentence of 20 years with his accomplices receiving prison time of between 15 and 18 years.
Belgian police officers foiled the attack on June 30 following a tip-off, stopping couple Amir Saadouni, 40, and Nasimeh Naami, 36, who were travelling in a Mercedes car.
Inside the car, officers found 550 grams of the unstable TATP explosive and a detonator hidden in luggage in the vehicle’s boot.
The court in Antwerp heard that Assadi had smuggled in the explosives on a commercial flight to Austria before handing the bomb over to Saadouni and Naami during a meeting in Luxembourg, two days before their arrest.
Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the group targeted by the plot, described the conviction as “a brilliant victory for the people and resistance of Iran and a heavy political and diplomatic defeat for the regime”.
Joining the north London MP’s at the rally in 2018 was Anglo-Iranian Mohamad Sulimani, who was performing in front of crowds at the rally.
The Barnet human rights activist told the Times why this month’s court result was so “important and historical” for the Iranian community in London.
He said: “It is good news for us because after 42 years, they (the authorities) were able to hold them (the regime) accountable.”
Mr Sulimani, who told the Times at a rally in Finchley in 2013 he wants help the people who want a “safer Iran”, added: “The majority of Iranians living here have had to flee Iran. Their families have suffered at the hands of the regime. Our communities have been the victims of the regime.”
Following the sentencing, Hendon MP Matthew Offord said: “This individual (Assadi) would never have acted alone with every move supported and sanctioned by the Iranian regime in Tehran.
“The UK must now hold the leaders to account for their involvement in terrorism through prosecution and imposing punitive sanctions. In addition, the UK must proscribe the IRGC in their entirety to prevent another planned attack. This behaviour has to be stopped and by turning off the supply of money and resources we can do this.”
Source » times-series