Statement by over 20 senior former European officials addressed to EU leaders

ISJ Press Release

Europe policy vis-à-vis Iran state terrorism is feckless. Diplomatic ties should be downgraded until Iran gives assurance that it will halt its terror apparatus in Europe.

IRGC and Intelligence Ministry must be designated as terrorist entities

‌Brussels, January 28, 2021- Over twenty former senior European officials issued a statement initiated by Mr. Giulio Terzi, former foreign minister of Italy and Chairman of the ISJ Committee on the protection of human rights and justice in Iran, to criticize the EU’s response to the Iranian regime’s state-sponsored terrorism, underscoring the imperative of a firm approach to Tehran’s blackmail and hostage taking, and stressed that “appeasing this regime is feeding the crocodile.”

The officials, who include former ministers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Poland, Ireland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Albania, as well as the former president and prime minister of Romania, said the prosecution of those who ordered Tehran’s terrorist plot on European soil was “a necessary and deterrent action against the godfather of international terrorism in the world today.”

After nearly two-and-a-half years of investigation, a Court in Antwerp heard the case of four defendants, including an Iranian diplomat (Assadollah Assadi) for attempting to bomb a large rally of the NCRI (Iran’s main opposition) in June 2018 in France’s Villepinte. Had the terrorist bombing plot in June 2018 at Villepinte succeeded, hundreds of innocents including European citizens and prominent political figures from both sides of Atlantic would have been killed.

Belgian State Security Service, VSSE, concluded, “The plan for the attack was conceived in the name of Iran and under its leadership.” As such, regardless of the Court’s final verdict, the Iranian regime’s direct role in this crime makes it an imperative that Europe reviews its Iran policy.

The signatories, who represent a wide spectrum of political movements, impressed upon EU leaders, including Mr. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Mr. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr. David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament as well as the leaders of the EU member states and non-EU states, that “Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, must be held accountable for his diplomat’s proven role in plotting to blow up a peaceful rally in Villepinte, France. In this respect, the activities of Iran’s embassies and religious and cultural centres need to be scrutinized and diplomatic relations with Iran should be downgraded. Any return to normal diplomatic relations should be subject to Iran giving assurances that it will never engage in terrorism in Europe again.” 

The signatories also emphasized, “The European Union should designate Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC in their entirety as terrorist entities. Their agents and mercenaries in European countries must be put on trial, punished, and expelled.

On April 29, 1997, the EU Council reaffirmed that any progress in the EU’s normal relationship with Iran can only be made if the Iranian authorities respect the norms of international law and refrain from acts of terrorism, including against Iranian citizens living abroad and cooperate in preventing such acts.

 The former EU officials stressed, “This time an acting diplomat of the Iranian regime was personally engaged, bringing the bomb from Iran via a commercial airline and personally delivering it to the would-be bombers. Thus, the undisputed evidence in the terrorist Villepinte case indicates that the involvement of Iranian authorities at the highest level not only has not come to an end but it has been upgraded into plans for mass murder. The recent expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and three diplomats from Albania and three other diplomats from France and the Netherlands following similar terrorist acts, clearly show the involvement of the Iranian embassy and its diplomats in these acts. The EU must take firm action. To do otherwise would provide impunity for the Iranian regime and embolden them to carry out further terrorist attacks in Europe.

International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ) 

ISJ LEADERS:

GIULIO TERZI – Chair ISJ Committee on the Protection of Human Rights & Justice in Iran. Minister Foreign Affairs Italy 2011-2013, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations in New York 2008-2009 and Ambassador of Italy to the United States 2009- 2011. 

ALEJO VIDAL-QUADRAS – President ISJ – Spanish professor of atomic and nuclear physics. Vice-president of the European Parliament from (1999-2014).

STRUAN STEVENSON – Chair ISJ Committee on the Protection of Political Freedoms in Iran. Member of the European Parliament representing Scotland 1999-2014. President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). 

PAULO CASACA – Member of the European Parliament (1999-2009) Chair of European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Founder and executive director of the “South Asia Democratic Forum”; founder of the international co-operation association ARCHumankind, ‘Alliance to Renew Co-operation among Humankind’. 

Click here to see the statement with the list of signatories.