The tension is palpable, in Belgian official circles, a few days before the judgment to be pronounced, on January 22, by the court of Antwerp in the lawsuit filed against four Iranians, including a diplomat, involved in a planned attack against the opposition to the Tehran regime. It was in Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis), on June 30, 2018.
After the November 2020 hearings, the Iranian authorities displayed their anger and let it be known, through a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that they did not recognize the qualification of the Belgian court. The lawsuit against the main defendant, diplomat Assadollah Assadi, was, according to them, illegitimate. Mr. Assadi – who refused to leave his cell – should, according to the Iranian regime, have been granted diplomatic immunity. This was pleaded in November by the defendant’s defense, strongly contested by the lawyers for the civil parties.
An additional element of the Belgian investigation file, not disclosed so far, confirms the attention that Tehran pays to this case. A note drafted by security and sent to the federal prosecutor’s office, in charge of terrorism cases, detailed, in August 2019, the numerous visits by Iranian officials to Mr. Assadi, then in preventive detention in Belgian Limburg. Fourteen personalities in total conversed with him: ambassador and advisers of the Islamic Republic in Brussels, Iranian doctor and lawyer living in France and Belgium but also five “Visitors linked to an Iranian administration and based in Iran”, indicates the note. Coming from Tehran on a delegation, these people had indicated to Belgium that they were members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, the Belgian authorities were only able to identify three of them.
Heard for seven hours a few months later, Maryam Rajavi, the president of the Congress of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), targeted by the proposed attack, would have given investigators a note detailing the role of some of these officials. One of them was, in fact, one of the main leaders of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, in charge of supervising agents stationed in foreign countries and acting under cover. A special committee bringing together different services has also been set up in Tehran to monitor the Assadi affair. Which threatened Belgium with reprisals if it condemned him. The prosecution has since requested a twenty-year prison sentence against him.
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