ISJ Letter to President Charles Michel

Hon. Charles Michel

President of the European Council,

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 175 
B-1048 Brussel
Belgium 

Mr President,

Once more we write to you on behalf of the International Committee ‘In Search of Justice’ (ISJ), a non-profit NGO registered in Brussels. Our members include many elected parliamentarians, former officials and other dignitaries, with an interest to promote ​​human rights, freedom, democracy, peace and stability in Iran.

We are sure that you are aware of the verdict of the court in Antwerp, Belgium, on 4th February, in the case of Assadollah Assadi, the ‘diplomat’ from the Iranian embassy in Vienna. Assadi, together with three Iranian co-conspirators, was arrested on terrorist charges. He had ordered them to detonate a 550gm TATP bomb at a huge NCRI opposition rally in Paris. We, the signatories to this letter, attended that rally. Assadi instructed his co-conspirators to plant the bomb as close as possible to Mrs Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main democratic opposition to the theocratic regime in Iran. We were standing close to Mrs Rajavi that day, alongside hundreds of American, European and international politicians, such as Senator Robert Toricelli, Governor Tom Ridge, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, former presidential candidate in Colombia Ingrid Betancourt, former UK Cabinet Minister Theresa Villiers and many others. Had the powerful bomb exploded, there would have been carnage and multiple deaths of men, women and children, caused by the explosion and the ensuing panic. Assadi received the maximum jail sentence for terrorism of 20 years. His diplomatic status was revoked. His Iranian ‘refugee’ co-conspirators each received long jail terms and were stripped of their Belgian citizenship.

The trial heard how Assadi, who has been exposed as a senior trained agent of the terrorist-listed Ministry of Security & Intelligence (MOIS), had collected and tested the bomb in Tehran and flown to Vienna in a commercial airliner, with the device in his diplomatic bag. Throughout the trial, he claimed diplomatic immunity and refused to appear. The Iranian regime has repeatedly endorsed his claim of diplomatic immunity, which was rejected by the Belgian court. By claiming diplomatic immunity, the regime has inadvertently revealed their direct involvement in this terrorist plot, by virtually stating “we have the right to deploy our diplomats as terrorists.” As such, there can be no doubt Assadi’s terrorist outrage was planned and ordered from the highest echelons of the regime, including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the president Hassan Rouhani, the foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi.

Assadi also faces further terrorist charges in Germany. When he was arrested in Bavaria by German police, they found a notebook in his car which contained details of the bomb plot and the money paid to his co-conspirators. It also contained information about 289 visits Assadi had made to different countries, 144 of which were to meetings in Germany, indicating that Assadi was supervising terrorist activities across the EU and Germany was clearly the epicentre of his MOIS spy network, which we can assume is primed and ready to act on further instructions from Tehran. If the EU and US fail to take strong retaliatory action against the Iranian regime for this outrage, there will almost certainly be future carnage.

We note that the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called upon President Biden to lift US sanctions as an essential first condition for resuming negotiations on restoring the JCPOA. His demand was echoed by the Intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi this week, when he threatened work would begin to construct a nuclear weapon if the US failed to immediately lift sanctions. We are dismayed that Josep Borrell has also repeatedly called for the EU to rejoin the failed JCPOA. We sincerely hope that the EU will not seek any return to these negotiations. There can surely be no further ‘business-as-usual’ with a regime that uses terrorism as statecraft?

We are also deeply dismayed that the EEAS appears to have been virtually silent on this aberration and we believe that it is absolutely essential for the EU to take steps against the Iranian regime such as closing its embassies and making all future diplomatic relations contingent on Iran ending its terrorism on European soil. Surely the EU must demand that Javad Zarif should be held responsible for having one of his diplomats involved in a terrorist plot? But far from seeking to indict Zarif for this crime, it appears that Josep Borrell is again determined to reinstate his proposed 3-day online business conference with the Iranian regime, financed by the EU, at which Zarif will be a keynote speaker. A more catastrophic capitulation to the Iranian regime’s attempts to bomb and kill people on European soil can barely be imagined and we urge you to intervene without delay.

It is worth noting that back in 1997, following the assassination of 4 Iranian dissidents by Iranian agents in the Mykonos Restaurant in Berlin, the EU Council and Presidency issued robust letters of condemnation and asked Member States to recall their ambassadors in protest. The Iranian terrorists, who were found guilty in a German court, were not diplomats like Assadi. It seems appropriate, therefore, that where a ‘diplomat’ has attempted to effect mass murder in Europe, potentially killing and maiming many EU and other citizens, it is incumbent on the EU now to take tough retaliatory action. We have attached copies of statements by the EU Council and Presidency in April 1997 for your interest.

Yours sincerely,

ALEJO VIDAL-QUADRAS

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

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).

STRUAN STEVENSON

Chair ISJ Committee on the Protection of Political Freedoms in Iran
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 Cooperation among Humankind’.

The full text of the letter is below:

http://isjcommittee.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ISJ-Letter-to-President-Charles-Michel-15-February-2021.pdf

Copies of statement by the EU Council and Presidency in April 1997 is below:

http://isjcommittee.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CPR_967.pdf