WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – On Wednesday, German prosecutors charged an Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, with working as a foreign intelligence agent and conspiracy to commit murder in conjunction with a bombing plot against an Iranian opposition conference in France some two weeks ago.
The 46-year-old Assadi had been posted to Iran’s embassy in Vienna since 2014. However, according to German authorities, Assadi was operating under diplomatic cover, as he is really a member of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
In March, Assadi allegedly contacted a Belgium-Iranian couple, living in Belgium’s port city of Antwerp, to carry out a bombing attack on the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) at its annual conference outside Paris.
In late June, a few days before the event, Assadi met the couple in yet another country—Luxembourg—and provided them with 500 grams of the explosive, TATP (triacetone triperoxide.)
The couple, identified by authorities only as Amir S., 38, and Nasimeh N., 33, were arrested in Brussels on June 30. Belgian police found the TATP, along with a detonator, in their car, hidden in a woman’s make-up bag.
The NCRI identified the husband as Amir Sadouni, saying that he worked in a shipping company that operated between Belgium and the Netherlands, while it identified his wife as Nasim Naami, and claimed that the pair had infiltrated the NCRI on behalf of the Iranian regime.
Following those two arrests, Assadi was detained in the German city of Aschaffenburg, some 40 kilometers southeast of Frankfurt.
In a related legal proceeding, an Iranian resident of Belgium, Mehrdad Arefani, 54, under detention in France, agreed on Wednesday to be turned over to Belgian authorities, who had issued a European arrest warrant for him.
On June 30, the same day that the Belgian-Iranian couple was arrested, Rudy Giuliani, now a lawyer for Donald Trump and, from 1994 to 2001, mayor of New York City, addressed the NCRI conference, calling for the overthrow of the Iranian regime.
“We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran,” Giuliani told the crowd of some 4,000 people, The Guardian reported.
“The mullahs must go, the ayatollah must go, and they must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi [head of the NCRI] represents,” he said.
A number of other prominent figures also addressed the group, including former US ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson; former US House Speaker, Newt Gingrich; former FBI Director Louis Freeh; Stephen Harper, former Canadian prime minister; and five members of the British parliament.
The NCRI is “known for paying very high [speakers’] fees,” The Guardian noted.
As the US mobilizes support for a renewed effort to isolate Iran and impose sanctions on that country, it is highlighting Iran’s support for terrorism.
On Tuesday, while visiting Abu Dhabi, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to the plot against the NCRI conference in an interview with Sky News Arabia.
“Just this past week, there were Iranians arrested in Europe who were preparing to conduct a terror plot in Paris,” Pompeo said. “The Europeans understand the threat.”