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Iran’s State Terrorism Must Be Met With Maximum Pressure And Not Maximum Diplomacy

The International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran deplores the inaction of the UK and EU following the conviction of an Iranian diplomat and his collaborators in Belgium on charges of terrorism and for planning to bomb the Free Iran gathering organised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Paris in June 2018.

In its ruling, “The court found that the four defendants are part of a larger terrorist group within a specific Iranian intelligence service. This appears from by the sums of money paid to the defendants, the way information was gathered, the meetings in Iran, the use of diplomatic status, and the making and testing of the explosive device in Iran itself.”

The diplomat, Assadolah Assadi, was in reality an intelligence officer disguised as a diplomat stationed at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna. He also reportedly ran a larger Iranian network of agents across Europe and acted on orders from the highest authorities in Iran.

Iran’s decision to act as a pariah state and to use its diplomats to threaten the security of Europe and the life of its citizens must be met with maximum pressure and not maximum diplomacy by the EU and UK.

The decision by the EU to sponsor the Europe-Iran Business Forum between 1 and 3 March 2021 and to invite Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to speak at this online event rewards Iran’s state terrorism instead of holding its chief diplomat to account for the terrorist acts committed by his diplomat. This event must be cancelled since it will only embolden Iran and risks inviting more terrorist acts on European soil in the future.

Today, the UK and EU must prioritise efforts to end Iran’s state terrorism instead of promoting trade and saving the nuclear deal at any cost that now entails excusing Iran’s terrorist acts on European soil.

These efforts should reflect the condemnation and recommendations set forward in the EU Declaration on Iran in April 1997, following the Mykonos case in Berlin, the last time Iranian agents were convicted on terrorist activities in Europe.

The International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran calls on the EU Foreign Ministers to agree at their meeting in Brussels on 22 February 2021 to suspend diplomatic relations with Iran and official bilateral Ministerial visits to or from the country until the regime ends its state terrorism. They should also agree to implement more robust and strong measures such as expelling Iranian diplomats and closing Iranian Embassies if Iran continues to misuse diplomatic missions for terrorism.

The UK and EU member states must also cooperate to dismantle Assadi’s network in Europe and launch an investigation to find, prosecute and expel those Iranian diplomats and agents who are engaged in similar terrorist activities in Europe to prevent future terrorist attacks by Iran.

In order to be successful, the EU and the UK should designate the entire IRGC as a terrorist organisations and to take international measure with the aim to hold to account the Iranian leaders such as the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, the President Rouhani and the Foreign Minister Zarif for activities that endanger Europe’s security and civilians.

Bob Blackman MPs and his parliamentary colleagues Rt. Hon David Jones MP, Steve McCabe MP and Prof. Lord Alton of Liverpool issued this statement on Friday, 19 February, on the eve of the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels next week.

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