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Iran: Belgium sentenced diplomat under MKO terror cult’s influence, violates intl. law

A Belgium armed police vehicle is stationed during the trial of four people, including a Belgian couple of Iranian heritage and an Iranian diplomat, at the Antwerp criminal court on February 4, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Foreign Ministry strongly condemns a 20-year jail term issued in Belgium against an Iranian diplomat as completely unlawful and a result of the European country's falling under the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) anti-Iran terrorist cult’s influence.

A court in the Belgian city of Antwerp handed down the sentence to Assadollah Assadi on Thursday, claiming that he had plotted a supposed attack against an MKO gathering in Paris in 2018.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh repeated Tehran’s assertion that all the procedures that had so far been taken against the diplomat, whether his arrest, the case brought against him or the conviction, were all “illegal” and amounted to “blatant violation of international law,” including the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Islamic Republic does not recognize any of these procedures, Khatibzadeh added.

“Unfortunately, Belgium and some [other] European countries have taken such illegal and unjustifiable actions [against Assadi] under the influence of the atmosphere that has been created by the hostile MKO terrorist group on Europe’s soil,” he noted.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to resort to all possible legal and diplomatic means to realize the rights of Mr. Assadollah Assadi and to hold accountable the governments that have violated their international obligations," he further said. 

In June 2018, Belgian authorities said that the Belgian police had intercepted a car carrying homemade explosives and a detonation device, claiming that Assadi had handed the materials to two people in Belgium earlier.

Assadi, himself, was apprehended in Germany the next day and told he could not apply his diplomatic immunity.

Dimitri de Beco, the Iranian diplomat’s defense lawyer, said back then that the plaintiffs were turning the case into a political trial on behalf of the MKO.

The MKO has conducted many assassinations and bombings against Iranian officials and civilians since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It notoriously sided with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 war that he had imposed on Iran.

Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist assaults since the Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 died in MKO’s acts of terror.

The terrorist outfit was on the United States’ list of terrorist organizations until 2012.

Ever since, though, it has been heavily propagandized as an “Iranian opposition group” by the West and received strong favorable Western lobbying.

MKO throws lavish conferences every year in the French capital, with certain American, Western, and Saudi Arabian officials in attendance as guests of honor. These include former US national security advisor John Bolton, former US president Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, and former Saudi Arabian spy chief Prince Turki al-Faisal.

The Western media outlets that reported the Thursday verdict, referred to the MKO as the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI). The group has been assuming such titles and have the media rehash them as means of laundering its original name that is associated with blood-soaked atrocities.

The MKO hailed the so-called “conviction” against Assadian as a “victory.”

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