By Farid Mahoutchi
December 11, 2021
The fourth session of an appeals court for three Iran-linked terrorists, held in Antwerp, Belgium, on Friday, revealed more information about a failed bombing attack that could have resulted in hundreds of casualties. The foiled plot, which was orchestrated by the highest levels of power in Tehran, was targeted at a large gathering of the Iranian opposition in Paris in 2018.
Assadollah Assadi, a Vienna-based diplomat and the main figure behind the attack, had financed, controlled, and planned the actions of the three other operatives and personally carried the bomb in a diplomatic pouch on a flight from Tehran to Vienna. All four were arrested by European authorities before they could carry out their attack.
Earlier this year, an Antwerp court stripped Assadi of his diplomatic immunity and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. His accomplices, Nassimeh Naami, Mehrdad Arefani, Amir Saadouni, were respectively sentenced to 18, 17, and 15 years in prison and were stripped of their Belgian citizenship status due to their involvement in the plot. Naami and Saadouni received a 500-gram explosive package from Assadi and were instructed to place it near the location where Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), would be sitting at the rally.
Arefani was acting as the eyes and ears of Assadi in Villepinte’s exhibition hall, where the gathering was taking place. His mobile phone contained an unsent message to Assadi containing the text “Ok.”
Naami, Arefani, and Saadouni had asked for an appeal, claiming that they were unaware that explosives were used to kill people. They thought that the bomb was only meant to scare the crowd, the defendants had said. The first session of the appeal was held on November 17. On Friday, bomb experts weighed in on the case and provided technical details on the effects of the bomb.
According to one of the experts, if the bomb would be detonated, it would function like a bullet, which indicates it was assembled by an expert. The bomb parts were built in a way that they would be spread like shrapnel and could cause severe harm. The blast itself could be deadly, the expert said.
According to this expert, when the bomb exploded, all its parts, including the antenna and the shell, would turn into destructive fragments. The expert had brought one of the small fragments to court and explained that upon the explosion, it would be thrown at a very fast speed and could have killed a person that was in its path.
Another expert confirmed that the bomb was the work of an expert and would explode like a fireball that would burn everything in its surroundings.
The second expert estimated the bomb to be deadly within a 53-meter radius, which is about 9,000 square meters. But the destructive effect of the bomb would go beyond this range. The bomb had been created in a way that would go through scanners without triggering the alarm.
It is worth noting that during the dismantling of the bomb, a police officer who had been standing at 80 meters was injured, and this is despite the fact that the explosion was partial and was less effective because it happened in an open space. If it was detonated inside the hall or under a chair, it would have caused severe casualties.
During the court session, the lawyer of the plaintiffs from NCRI showed pictures of the Free Iran 2018 gathering where thousands of people had gathered, including young children. In such a packed crowd, the effects of the bomb would have been even more devastating.
At the end of the session, the judge declared that given the new information, the appeals court will resume on March 4, 2022, and the final verdict will be given one-and-half months later.
It is worth noting that the three individuals standing in court in Belgium are part of a very large network of terrorists run by the regime in Europe. In the documents obtained from Assadi’s vehicle, the police found a ledger of payments to hundreds of individuals who were acting on the Iranian regime’s behalf and were spying on Iranian dissidents or helping in the plotting of terrorist attacks.
The Iranian Resistance has demanded that Assadi’s network be exposed and the regime’s operatives in Europe, who are posing as asylum seekers, be stripped of their refugee status and expelled from their host countries.