Iran exiled opposition says Belgium plot trial ‘historic’
The trial in Belgium of an Iranian diplomat accused of plotting an attack on a meeting of an opposition organisation in France is historic since “all the regime is in the dock,” the exiled group’s leader said.
he trial in Belgium of an Iranian diplomat accused of plotting an attack on a meeting of an opposition organisation in France is historic since “all the regime is in the dock,” the exiled group’s leader said.
he court in Antwerp is to give its verdict Thursday in the trial of Assadollah Assad, accused of planning to bomb the meeting of the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) outside Paris in June 2018.
“It is the regime in its entirety which is being judged in this trial — it is about state terrorism,” Maryam Rajavi told AFP by phone, insisting that the plot had been ordered and approved “at the highest level” of the Iranian regime.
Formerly based in Vienna, Assad faces a 20-year prison term if convicted. Three co-defendants, a Belgian-Iranian couple and an Iranian exile, face 15 to 18 years on jail.
In October 2018, France accused the Iranian intelligence ministry of being behind the plot, a claim denied by Tehran, and the controversy has become another bone of contention between Iran and Europe.
Belgian authorities thwarted in June 2018 what they said was an attempt to smuggle explosives to France to attack the meeting, where several well-known figures, including former US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, were to attend.
“We are waiting for justice to be done, but also for Europe to react and take full sanctions against the mullahs’ regime,” Rajavi said.
– Must pay ‘price’ –
She called for “the closure of the regime’s embassies in Europe, the expulsion of its agents and the dismantling of its spy networks.”
“If these measures are not taken, it means that the Iranian regime is paying no price for its crimes,” she said.
he NCRI, which is outlawed in Iran, is the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), known in English as the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI).
he MEK backed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the 1979 revolution that ousted shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, but rapidly fell out with the new Islamic authorities and embarked on a campaign to overthrow the regime.
he MEK then sided with Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. Thousands of its alleged members were executed in a ruthless crackdown in the late 1980s.
Since then it has waged a campaign against the Islamic Republic in exile and regards itself as by far the most significant opposition group outside the country.
For detractors, the MEK is a cult-like group that forces its members to avoid sexual relationships and vastly overstates its influence inside Iran.
But its Western supporters, many of whom are neoconservatives and have considerable clout in Washington, see it as a viable force for change.
In 2009 the European Union struck the MEK from its list of terror organisations, while the US followed suit in 2012.