Imagine discovering water leaking onto the floor from a leak underneath the kitchen sink. Imagine addressing the problem by simply mopping up the spillage and walking away. Problem solved? Obviously not. A solution to a problem succeeds only if it attacks the problem at its source. In this case, a leaky pipeline will result in re-occurrences of the problem until the necessary pipeline repair is undertaken. This is not rocket science – it is simple logic. However, simple logic appears to be lost upon foreign-policy decision-makers in France and the rest of Europe in the wake of the arrest and trial of an Iranian diplomat on charges of terrorism.
Assadollah Assadi, who was serving at the Iranian embassy in Vienna and is a senior officer in the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, came close to pulling off a terrorist plot in France that would have killed and wounded hundreds, including Americans. The facts of the case are as follows.
On June 28, 2018, Assadi met at a Pizza Hut with a couple – Belgian nationals of Iranian origin – in Luxembourg, Belgium. A husband and wife team, the couple are only identified as Amir S. and Nasimeh N. Assadi gave them a small package, and the couple departed, leaving the city to return to their home in Antwerp. None of the meeting participants were aware that their activities were being closely monitored by European intelligence agencies. The package contained half a kilogram (1.1 lbs) of the explosive TATP and a detonator. It was to be used by the couple to bomb a National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) event being held two days later in Villepinte – a town just outside of Paris. Several high-profile Americans were scheduled to speak at the event, including Rudy Giuliani.
In a well-coordinated international operation, police forces in three European countries arrested four people. In Belgium, police arrested Amir S. and Nasimeh N. in Brussels while they were driving to the NCRI event in France. The explosive device was found in Nasimeh’s handbag. In Germany, police arrested Assadi as he was returning to Austria. And in France, an Iranian man believed to be an accomplice was arrested in Paris. All four were charged with attempted murder and preparing an act of terrorism. Additionally, French authorities accused Iran’s intelligence ministry of sanctioning the plot. This is pretty much Iran’s modus operandi, evidenced by the belief the explosives were smuggled in through a diplomatic pouch.
As Iran always does, it denied any responsibility for the plot, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeting that the arrests were a “sinister false flag ploy” by the NCRI to drive a wedge between Tehran and European nations.
But this is not the first time since the mullahs came to power in 1979 that they have sought to extend their long terrorist arm to other countries. Iran has long been recognized by the U.S. Department of State as the largest state sponsor of terrorism, first given the title in 1984. Today it supports terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, Palestinian groups in Gaza and various groups in Syria, Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Last year, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was designated a terrorist group as well. A press release noted, “This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but tha the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
In 1992, Israeli assets in Argentina became a target for Iran’s terrorist activities as it bombed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29. Among innocent Argentinian lives claimed were those of elderly residents in a nearby nursing home and children on a school bus that was driving by at the time.
Two years later, in 1994, Iran targeted a Jewish community center, again in Buenos Aires, with a suicide truck bomb that killed 85 people and injured hundreds more. It took nine years, but in 2003, an Argentine judge ordered arrest warrants be issued for four Iranian government officials for allegedly helping to carry out the bombing. Argentina calls the terrorist attack the most brutal in its history and seeks to hold several high-level Iranian officials accountable for it.
Despite Iran’s long terrorist track record, European nations ignore it. Late last year, to circumvent U.S. sanctions against trading with Iran, six European countries joined a barter system to trade with Tehran that was established by France, Germany and Britain. Like the leaky kitchen pipeline, these European states are choosing to mop up the water spill without repairing the leak.
Iran has ensconced its “right” to support terrorism in its constitution. It notes a duty to export the Islamic Revolution beyond its borders, using any means possible. No other country in the world claims authority to engage in such extraterritorial activity. Despite this mandate and Iran’s terrorist history, both these facts fail to motivate the European countries to implement sanctions or other measures aimed at reining in Iranian aggression. They still look to reward Iran with trade at a time the mullahs could be pressed to the hilt to change their behavior.
As Assadi’s role in plotting a terrorist attack in France is fully detailed at his trial, French President Emmanuel Macron needs to focus on attacking the problem of Iranian terrorism with an impactful solution. Iran’s use of terrorism will remain a problem unless and until European nations take measures to plug the pipeline leaking terrorist activity throughout the region.
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.