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World Iranian diplomat on trial over plan to bomb a rally where Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker but Mossad tipped off the police

14:55  28 november  2020
14:55  28 november  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com

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Iranian Diplomat Accused of Plotting to Bomb Dissidents Goes on Trial in Belgium. Police officers at the court building in Antwerp, Belgium, on Friday, before the trial The intent, prosecutors say, was to blow up a rally in France of a prominent opposition group to the Iranian government. An Iranian diplomat based in Vienna and three other Iranians went on trial on Friday in Antwerp, Belgium, over

An Iranian diplomat and a Belgian couple are due to go on trial in Belgium on Friday in connection with an alleged plot to bomb a rally held by an exiled Iranian opposition group in France. Mr Giuliani was a keynote speaker at the NCRI event in June 2018, which thousands of people attended.

Rudy Giuliani wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Rudy Giuliani delivers his speech as he attends the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) meeting in Villepinte, France on June 30, 2018. Regis Duvignau/Reuters © Regis Duvignau/Reuters Rudy Giuliani delivers his speech as he attends the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) meeting in Villepinte, France on June 30, 2018. Regis Duvignau/Reuters
  • An Iranian diplomat and three others have gone on trial in Belgium accused of planning a terrorist attack on a rally where Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker.
  • Iran's Assadollah Assadi was not in the dock having claimed diplomatic immunity.
  • Maryam Rajavi, leader of the MEK, an exiled Iranian opposition group, was the main target of the attack.
  • If the powerful bomb had exploded, it could have caused carnage in a packed crowd of 25,000.
  • Other prominent public figures who attended, included Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

An Iranian diplomat has gone on trial in Belgium for his part in a planned terrorist attack on a rally where Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker.

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An Iranian diplomat refused to turn up for trial in Belgium on Friday, where he is accused of plotting to bomb an Iranian opposition rally outside Paris. US President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani gave the keynote address. Prosecutors allege that Assadi, the third counsellor at Iran's embassy in

Five British MPs attended the 2018 Iran opposition rally in France that was the alleged target of the plot. An Iranian diplomat refused to appear at the first day of his trial in Belgium on Friday, where he and three others face charges of plotting to bomb an Iranian exile opposition meeting in France

Assadollah Assadi, 48, a diplomat formerly based in Vienna, faces life in prison if convicted.

The target of the attack, according to prosecutors, was a rally held in Villepinte, France, on June 30, 2018, organized by the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), a political arm of the People's Mojahedin of Iran or Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).

The group is considered a terrorist organization and an arch-enemy by Iran. Maryam Rajavi, leader of the MEK, was the main target of the attack, the court heard.

In the last-minute, international police operation, a Belgian couple of Iranian origin was stopped in a Brussels' suburb, on the day of the rally. They claimed to be on a driving holiday, said AP.

But Amir Saadouni and Nasimeh Naami, had met Assadi, an Iranian diplomat serving as a third counselor at the country's embassy in Vienna, Austria, at a Pizza Hut, the BBC added. Following Mossad's tip-off, the Israeli intelligence agency, a Belgian plainclothes officer, observed Assadi handing them a package that contained a powerful explosive, reported the New York Times.

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An Iranian diplomat and three other Iranian citizens went on trial in Belgium Friday for allegedly plotting to bomb a 2018 rally of the Paris-based National Council This is the first time a European Union country is adjudicating a case on terrorism charges involving an Iranian government official.

PARIS (Reuters) - An Iranian diplomat and three other Iranians go on trial in Antwerp, Belgium on Friday for planning to bomb a 2018 meeting in The rally 's keynote address was given by U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani . Assadi was the third counsellor at Iran's embassy in

The pair denied knowing that they were handed a bomb. Naami said she thought it contained fireworks, ABC News reported.

The Belgian bomb disposal unit said that they found 550 grams of ready to use triacetone triperoxide (TATP) "wrapped in plastic and concealed in the lining of a vanity case" in the couple's Mercedes, according to The Washington Post.

They also found a digital remote trigger in a small bag belonging to Naami containing feminine hygiene items and a red notebook in Assadi's car with instructions for using the bomb, ABC News added.

If the powerful bomb had exploded, it could have hit the crowd of 25,000 and other prominent public figures, including Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives, and several MPs from the UK.

TATP was used when suicide bombers killed 32 people in an attack on the Brussels subway and airport in 2016.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Crowds at the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) rally held in Villepinte, France, on June 30, 2018. Yusuf Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images © Yusuf Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Crowds at the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) rally held in Villepinte, France, on June 30, 2018. Yusuf Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Assadi has also been accused of paying the couple $14,000 and was arrested while traveling through Germany on July 1, 2018, where he had no immunity from prosecution, France24 reported.

Facing terror charges, Iran diplomat skips trial opening day

  Facing terror charges, Iran diplomat skips trial opening day ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) — An Iranian diplomat suspected of masterminding a thwarted bomb attack against an exiled Iranian opposition group in France did not show up at the courthouse Friday on the opening day of his trial on terror charges in Belgium. More than two years after the cross-border police operation that thwarted the attack, Assadollah Assadi and three other suspects face between five years and 20 years in prison on charges of “attempted terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.

An Iranian diplomat and three other Iranians go on trial in Antwerp, Belgium on Friday for planning to bomb a 2018 meeting in France of an The rally 's keynote address was given by US President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani . Assadi was the third counsellor at Iran's embassy in Vienna.

27, 2020, accused of planning to bomb a rally of Iranian opposition supporters. More than two years after the last-minute, cross-border operation that thwarted the planned attack, the couple go on trial Friday alongside two Iranian citizens, including a diplomat believed to be the plot’s mastermind.

Belgium's State Security Service (VSSE) believes he worked for Iran's  Department 312, pf the directorate for internal security, which is on the EU's list of terrorist organizations, according to the New York Times.

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He allegedly recruited the couple to obtain information about the Iranian opposition and worked with a fourth suspect, Mehrdad Arefani, an Iranian poet and resident of Brussels, AP.

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Text messages and emails between the four suspects revealed that they used code to communicate and referred to the explosive device as the 'PlayStation 4,' The Washington Post reported.

They have all been charged with attempting to carry out a terrorist attack and terrorist group activity and could face life in prison.

The trial began yesterday, with the verdict expected to be delivered by early next year.

Assadi was not in the dock, having claimed diplomatic immunity.

Ran has denied being behind the alleged thwarted attack, according to France 24.

The MEK leader Rajavi has said that Assadi received his orders from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei but did not provide any evidence, according to AP.

MEK was on the US and EU terrorism lists until 2012. After denouncing violence, it recruited western politicians to lobby on its behalf, AP reported. It supports Donald Trump's US sanctions against it, gaining powerful allies such as Rudy Giuliani, according to the BBC.

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