Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi and three other Iranians went on trial in Antwerp, Belgium, on Friday, marking the first time an EU country has put an Iranian official on trial for terrorism.
The Belgian-Iranians have been charged with planning an attack on a rally of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in 2018. The NCRI is the political wing of the Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), which is seeking to overthrow the Islamic republic. Assadi worked at Iran’s embassy in Vienna as the third counselor. It is believed that he was handling intelligence in southern Europe and had orders from Tehran. Tehran, however, considers NCRI a terrorist group.
Assadi was on a holiday in Germany when he was arrested and handed over to Belgium. Two of his alleged accomplices in possession of half a kilo of the explosive TATP and a detonator were also arrested in Belgium. Belgian authorities believe the explosives were transported on a commercial flight from Tehran to Vienna by Assadi.
Assadi claimed diplomatic immunity and refused to appear for this session. The second part of the trial is scheduled to take place on Thursday of this week. The court is then expected to adjourn to consider its verdict before ruling early next year.