- An Iranian diplomat and three others have been indicted in Belgium on charges of planning a terrorist attack at a rally where Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker.
- Iranian Assadola Assad was not on the dock, declaring diplomatic immunity.
- Mariam Rayavi, leader of MEK, an exiled Iranian opposition group, was the main target of the attack.
- If the powerful bomb had exploded, it could have caused a massacre of 25,000 people.
- Other prominent public figures in attendance were Newt Gingrich, former chairman of the US House of Representatives.
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An Iranian diplomat is facing trial in Belgium for his involvement in a planned terrorist attack at a rally where Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker.
Asadola Assadi, 48, a diplomat who had previously been in Vienna, faces up to life in prison if convicted.
According to prosecutors, the target of the attack was a rally held in Villepinte, France, on June 30, 201
The group is considered a terrorist organization and an enemy of Iran. MEK leader Mariam Rayavi was the main target of the attack, the court heard.
At the last minute, the international police operation, a Belgian couple of Iranian origin was stopped in the suburbs of Brussels, on the day of the rally. They claimed to be on a driving break, the AP reported.
But Amir Saadouni and Nasime Naami met with Assad, an Iranian diplomat who was a third adviser at the country’s embassy in Vienna, Austria, at a pizzeria, the BBC added. Following a statement from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, a Belgian civilian officer, watched as Assad handed them a package containing a powerful explosive, the New York Times reported.
They both denied knowing that they had been handed a bomb. Naami said she thought there were fireworks, ABC News reported.
The Belgian bomb disposal unit said it had found 550 grams of ready-to-use triacetone triperoxide (TATP), “wrapped in plastic and hidden 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 women’s hygiene items and a red notebook in Assad’s car with instructions for using the bomb, added ABC News.
If the powerful bomb had exploded, it could have hit 25,000 crowds and other prominent public figures, including Newt Gingrich, a former spokesman for the US House of Representatives, and several British lawmakers.
The TATP was used when suicide bombers killed 32 people in a 2016 subway and airport attack in Brussels.
Assad was also accused of paying the couple $ 14,000 and was arrested during a trip to Germany on July 1, 2018, where he had no immunity from persecution, France24 reported.
The Belgian State Security Service (VSSE) believes he worked for Iran’s Department 312, the internal security directorate that is on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations, according to The New York Times.
He allegedly recruited the couple to obtain information about the Iranian opposition and worked with a fourth suspect, Mehrdad Arefani, an Iranian poet and Brussels resident, AP.
Text messages and emails between the four suspects revealed that they used a communication code and called the explosive device “PlayStation 4”, reports The Washington Post.
They are all accused of attempting to carry out a terrorist attack and the activities of a terrorist group and could face up to life in prison.
The trial began yesterday, with the verdict expected to be handed down early next year.
Assad was not on the dock after seeking diplomatic immunity.
Ran denied being behind the alleged thwarted attack, France 24 reported.
IEC leader Rajavi said Assad had received orders from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but had not provided any evidence, according to the AP.
MEK was on the US and EU lists of terrorism until 2012. After condemning the violence, he hired Western politicians to lobby on his behalf, the AP reported. She supports Donald Trump’s US sanctions against her by winning powerful allies like Rudy Giuliani, according to the BBC.