Appeals court for three Iran-linked terrorists begins in Antwerp, Belgium

By Mahin Horri
The Court of Appeal of Antwerp, Belgium, will consider the appeal of three terrorists working for the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) on Wednesday and Thursday. The three operatives, Nassimeh Naami, Mehrdad Arefani, and Amir Saadouni, were the co-conspirators of Assadollah Assadi, a Vienna-based Iranian diplomat who plotted to bomb a large gathering of the Iranian opposition in France in 2018. All three had Belgian passports.

All four terrorists were arrested before they were able to carry out their plot. In February 2021, they were all found guilty. Assadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Naami, Arefani, and Saadouni were sentenced to 18, 17, and 15 years in prison and were stripped of their Belgian citizenship.

Naami and Saadouni had received the bomb from Assadi, who had brought it to Europe on a commercial flight and in a diplomatic pouch. They were instructed to explode the bomb at the large Free Iran gathering, held in Villepinte, near Paris, in July 2018. Arefani served as the eyes-and-ears of Assadi and was to report to him about the success of the ploy.

The main target of the attack was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Also attending the event were dozens of politicians and personalities from different countries, as well as tens of thousands of Iranians from across the globe.

The Antwerp ruling was the first judicial condemnation of an Iranian regime official for terrorism in the European Union.

The three operatives are part of a very large terror and espionage network the Iranian regime is running across Europe. Among the evidence presented in the Assadi case was a notebook that contained a long list of payments that the terrorist-diplomat had made to different people in European countries.

The evidence shows that the regime is employing citizens in different countries to spy and plot against dissidents and Iranian refugees. Some of these operatives pose as human rights activists and supporters of the Iranian opposition.

The regime tried to dismiss the plot as a rogue operation. But the information of the Iranian Resistance shows that this was a plot that had been approved and planned at the highest levels of power in Tehran.

In a seven-hour testimony to the Antwerp court in 2019, Mrs. Rajavi said that the decision to bomb Villepinte was made by the regime Supreme Security Council with the participation of then-Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, then-president by Hassan Rouhani, and approved by regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei. The MOIS was assigned with to execute the bombing in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On April 28, 2021, Rouhani acknowledged that “All the complex issues of foreign policy and the field of defense are discussed in the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), whether when we want to [carry out] a defensive operation and whether when we have to carry out an offensive operation somewhere or whether when we want to undertake important political task … They will definitely be discussed in the SNSC. Military commanders and political officials are there… and finally, the Supreme Leader must approve our decision.”

On February 24, 2021, Zarif underscored in an interview, “Most of our Foreign Ministry ambassadors have a security structure. Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been facing security issues since it began operating. The Foreign Ministry’s agenda has been a political-security agenda since the beginning of the revolution.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the NCRI stressed: “The clerical regime construes the European Union’s silence and inaction vis-à-vis the blatant misuse of diplomatic status and facilities for terrorism and murder of the innocent in the heart of Europe, particularly after the Antwerp court ruling, as a green light to continue and intensify its crimes. It is time for the European Union and the international community to take practical steps to confront the mullah’s terrorism.”

The NCRI recommended several steps to deal with the regime’s terrorist threats:

  • The terrorist designation of the entirety of the MOIS and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
  • The prosecution and deport of MOIS agents and operatives from European countries and revoking their asylum and citizenship.
  • The referral of the Iranian regime’s dossier on terrorism, genocide, and crimes against humanity to the UN Security Council, and the prosecution of Khamenei, Raisi, and other regime leaders.
  • The predication of the continuation and expansion of political and commercial ties with the regime on a halt in executions and export of terrorism by the mullahs.

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