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US News Four Iranians tried in Belgium for a planned attack in France

08:50  27 november  2020
08:50  27 november  2020 Source:   lemonde.fr

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Prosecutors in Belgium say he planned an attack on an Iranian opposition rally near Paris in 2018. In the 1980s, the MEK carried out a string of deadly attacks against the Iranian regime, including The four Iranians were arrested just days ahead of a rare visit to Switzerland and Austria by Iran 's

Four people held for allegedly plotting bombing of MEK rally attended by Rudy Giuliani.

IRAN-COMPLOT-TRIAL: Four Iranians tried in Belgium for a planned attack in France

QUATRE IRANIENS JUGÉS EN BELGIQUE POUR UN PROJET D'ATTENTAT EN FRANCE © Reuters / REGIS DUVIGNAU FOUR IRANIANS TRIED IN BELGIUM FOR A PROJECT OF ATTACK IN FRANCE

PARIS (Reuters) - The trial of an Iranian diplomat and three of his compatriots suspected of having instigated an attack thwarted in extremis against an opposition movement in exile during a meeting in Villepinte, in Seine-Saint-Denis, in June 2018 opens on Friday in Antwerp, Belgium.

No member of the Iranian administration has yet been tried in Europe for such acts.

According to Belgian investigators, Assadolah Assadi, who was third secretary of the Iranian embassy in Vienna, and his three co-defendants wanted to detonate a bomb during a meeting of the National Council of Iranian Resistance (NCRI), whose headquarters are in France. The opening speech was then delivered by Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

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Husband and wife 'of Iranian origin' accused of planning to blow up rally attended by 25,000 people, alleged accomplice arrested in France , Iranian diplomat Belgium further raised its terror alert level after the Paris attacks in November that year, and placed the capital Brussels on lockdown for a week.

The Belgian prosecutors' office said Belgian security services, France 's domestic intelligence service and German judicial authorities had been instrumental in preventing another terror attack in France . Police raided five homes after the couple was detained but did not disclose if they found additional

According to the French authorities, Assadolah Assadi was acting on behalf of the intelligence services on the orders of Tehran. The Islamic Republic denies any involvement and speaks of a plot by the NCRI, which it considers a terrorist organization. The attack was foiled in Brussels as part of a joint operation by the French, German and Belgian security services.

Assadolah Assadi offered no explanation, but his lawyer promised he would do so during his trial. The diplomat also hinted that reprisals would be feared if he was convicted, according to a police document obtained by Reuters.

He was arrested during a stay in Germany and transferred to Belgium, where two of the defendants were arrested in possession of 500 grams of TATP and a detonator.

According to documents known to Reuters, Belgian investigators believe Assadolah Assadi conveyed the explosive from Tehran to Vienna.

"The attack plan was conceived in the name of Iran, and under its leadership; it was not a personal initiative of Assadi", writes Jaak Raes, general administrator of the Security of the State, in a letter addressed to the prosecutor and dated February 2, 2020.

In France, where the authorities hold the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence responsible, an Iranian diplomat was expelled. The European Union has frozen the assets of an Iranian intelligence unit and several members of the administration.

(John Irish, French version Jean-Philippe Lefief)

Trial of the foiled Villepinte attack: absent from the Antwerp trial .
© KENZO TRIBOUILLARD Belgian police officers in front of the Antwerp court, November 27, 2020. The diplomat Assadollah Assadi, presented by the federal prosecution as the leader of the conspiracy targeting a troubled exiled opposition group, refused to come to the hearing. The Antwerp courthouse speaks Persian, except for the many all-black policemen and their dog, who do not speak at all.

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This is interesting!