In retaliation to the recent nationwide uprisings in Iran, the Iranian regime continuously conspires to commit terrorist activities against its opponents in Europe. They see the ever-growing popular protests as a real threat to their stranglehold of the country.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians in defiance of severe state repercussions attend protests regularly in over 140 cities calling for the overthrow of the Iranian regime. These protests are in response to nearly 40 years of oppression, human rights violations, and corruption that has left millions of Iranians in economic despair.
The Iranian regime’s high-ranking officials have recognized the people’s alternative, the democratic coalition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) of which the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) is a member, as key organizers of these protests who act at the behest of the will of the Iranian people.
As such, Iran’s primary focus is to eradicate the NCRI and PMOI who are based in Europe. The Iranian regime holds no prejudice as to who they target and how, including supporters, as shown in their recent terrorist attempt in Paris on June 30, 2018, at an NCRI-organized Free Iran Gathering. Their targets included all in attendance such as European MPs, American dignitaries and tens of thousands of Iranians who are also European citizens.
On September 12, 2018, the NCRI in a press conference in London exposed Iran’s terrorist plans and activities in Europe. They identified key members within their chain of command, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani who hold key roles. Further, Iranian embassies across Europe were identified as terrorist hubs that spy on Iranian dissidents and human rights activists and carry out orders instructed by Tehran.
The NCRI called for urgent action from European governments to prevent Iran from committing terrorism. The Iranian regime is feeling the effects of its unpopularity and now is in a desperate, weakened state, preparing to commit further terrible atrocities so as to hold on to power. Their fear of the organized Resistance, the NCRI, and its growing support supersedes their fear of retaliation by European countries as a result of decade-long appeasement policies.
Recent terror plots in Tirana and Paris
Since the Mullah’s hijacked the 1979 Iranian revolution, the regime has based their policies around terrorism so as to impose fear on a nation, cause instability in the region, and eliminate any opponents.
Although a large proportion of their terrorist activities have been based in the Middle East, there have been several operations in Europe such as the assassination of Kazem Rajavi, a renowned human rights activist in Geneva, Switzerland, in April 1990.
Today, Iran has stepped up its operations in Europe. In March 2018, in Tirana, Albania, Iranian agents attempted to inflict causalities on Iranian political refugees who were in the midst of celebrating the Persian New Year. Two Iranian personnel under the guise of journalists were detained in relation to this foiled terrorist attack, which was confirmed by the US State Department and the Albanian government.
Similarly, in June 2018 Iranian personnel attempted a terrorist attack on a gathering in Paris, France. In addition to tens of thousands of European citizens, nearly 600 parliamentarians and dignitaries from 70 countries around the world were in attendance - including cross-party delegation of members of parliament from the UK and American dignitaries such as Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran called for urgent action from European governments to prevent Iran from committing terrorism. The Iranian regime is feeling the effects of its unpopularity and now is in a desperate, weakened state, preparing to commit further terrible atrocities so as to hold on to power. Their fear of the organized Resistance, the NCRI, and its growing support supersedes their fear of retaliation by European countries as a result of decade-long appeasement policiesHossein Abedini
An Iranian ‘diplomat’ in Vienna was arrested in Germany as being responsible for handing over bombs to the two perpetrators in Luxembourg who wished to attack the gathering in France. With the help of German, French and Belgium authorities – the attack was foiled hours before and perpetrators detained.
Most recently, in the United States, two Iranian operatives were arrested on charges of spying and collecting information to carry out a possible terrorist attack. This current new wave of terrorist activities by the Iranian regime should be of high concern to all governments.
Terrorism chain of command
In January 2018, according to information from within Iran, the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) headed by Hassan Rouhani took the decision to carry out the Paris terrorist operation. Other members of the SNSC, include Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Commander of the Quds Force Qassem Soleimani. This plan was later taken to Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader, for final approval.
After the Supreme Leader’s approval, the operation was assigned to a department within Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence Services (MOIS) named Organization of Foreign Intelligence and Movements. This department is responsible for terrorist operations and espionage outside of Iran, including Europe, and is headed by Reza Amiri Moghaddam, a top security official. Moghaddam was directly involved in instructing the Iranian ‘diplomat’ in Vienna, Assadollah Assadi, to execute the Paris operation.
Assadi used the Iranian embassy in Vienna to instruct a sleeper cell of terrorists in Belgium to carry out the attack. He was involved in personally handing over the bombs to the perpetrators, and has been detained since the terrorist plot was foiled, according to statement by Belgian and German authorities.
Role of Iran’s embassies in Europe
In addition to collecting intelligence, Iranian embassies are used to provide logistics support to terrorists including weapons, explosives and money. In some instances, assailants have used the embassies to hide after an operation.
With around 30 embassies dotted across Europe, the Iranian regime has created a network to operate effectively in every location. By investigating and closing these embassies, Iran’s threat in Europe can be halted at its source.
Stopping Iran’s terrorist activities
The Mullahs believe the only solution to stopping their overthrow is to strike blows to the organized alternative to its reign and focuses on terrorism and propaganda to do so. For decades, Europe has taken the policy of appeasement in relations with Iran, and the regime intends to use this relationship as an advantage to operate across Europe.
Resorting to tactics of terrorism, means that a policy of appeasement and continued diplomatic relations by European governments with Iran is illegitimate and a safety concern for innocent European citizens. Silence to the fact that Iran has plotted attacks in Europe, is tantamount to giving the green flag to the regime in Tehran to continue such terrible activities.
We should not allow the Iranian regime, in its phase of demise, to threaten the lives of Iranian refugees, activists and opponents.
Therefore, certain urgent and imperative measures should be taken to halt Iran’s activities:
Firstly, without any political considerations or favors, Iran’s terrorists must be prosecuted in European courts instead of extradition to Iran. With regards to the detained terrorists behind the Paris 2018 attack, they must be tried in Belgium where they were detained.
Secondly, Western governments should arrest, try and expel any Iranian intelligence ministry spies and agents and finally all European countries including UK must shut down and investigate with immediate effect Iran’s centers, and hidden sleeper cells in Europe.
Hossein Abedini is a member of Parliament in exile of the Iranian resistance and belongs to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. He tweets @HoAbedini