Five UK MPs may have cheated on terror bomb death at a Paris conference after an Iranian official allegedly smuggled explosives into his diplomatic bag.
Assadollah Assadi, 48, carried the bomb & # 39; Mother of Satan & # 39; Belgian security forces announced on an Austrian Airlines flight from Tehran to Vienna in the bag that had been exempted from security checks.
The bomb was due to be detonated at a rally attended by a 35-strong British delegation, including Conservative MPs Bob Blackman, Matthew Offord, Sir David Amess and Theresa Villiers, and Labor's Roger Godsiff.
Other dignitaries at the 2018 Conference on Iranian Freedom included Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Republican Grande Newt Gingrich.
Assadi, who is understood as an officer in the Iranian intelligence and security ministry, is one of the first diplomats to ever face terrorist attacks.
The MP from Theresa Villiers, flanked by MP from Bob Blackman (left) and MP from Roger Godsiff (right), speaks as the British delegation during the Conference in Support of Freedom and Democracy in Iran on June 30, 2018 in Paris appears on the stage
Assadollah Assadi, 48, allegedly worked undercover in the Iranian embassy in Vienna. He is one of the first diplomats to face terrorist attacks
BRITISH DELEGATES: Tory MPs Matthew Offord (left) and Sir David Amess
UK DELEGATES: Labor MP Roger Godsiff (left) and Conservative MP Bob Blackman
He is on trial in Belgium, where intelligence officers foiled the conspiracy alongside Amir Saadouni, 40, Saadouni's wife Nasimeh Naami, 36 and a fourth suspect, Mehrdad Arefani.
Officials say the target of the attack was Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), which held its annual Free Iran Gathering in Paris.
Mother of Satan's devices (acetone peroxide) are notorious for their use in the Manchester Arena and for Parsons Green attacks. They are difficult to see and easy to make. Plus, they're incredibly fleeting.
Ms Villiers, speaking on behalf of the UK at the conference, told The Sun: “It is outrageous to send a bomb in a diplomatic bag to Europe on a commercial flight.
“If the court decides this has happened, it will be shocking. I feel like I had a happy escape. & # 39;
According to legal documents from the two-year investigation, the Belgian Secret Service and Security Service (VSSE) operated Assadi on orders from Tehran.
In a communication to the Belgian federal prosecutor's office, the agency argued that "the planned attack was planned in the name of and at Iran's instigation".
The prosecution did not comment on the case as the trial had not started.
On June 30, 2018, Belgian police officers drew attention to a possible attack on the MEK meeting in Paris and stopped Saadouni and his wife's Mercedes car.
In their luggage they found half a kilo of the explosive acetone peroxide and a detonator.
In its report, the Belgian bomb disposal unit said the device was of professional quality.
It could have caused a sizable explosion and panic in the crowd estimated at 25,000 people that had gathered that day in the French city of Villepinte, in the Paris suburbs.
Assadi is viewed by investigators as the "operational commander" of the attack and suspected of hiring the couple years earlier.
GOAL: Maryam Rajavi, Chairwoman of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, waves to the well-wishers in Villepinte north of Paris at the 2014 annual conference
Theresa Villiers MP speaks as the UK delegation appears on stage during the Conference in Support of Freedom and Democracy in Iran on June 30, 2018 in Paris, France. The speakers declared their support for the Iranian popular uprising and the democratic alternative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and called on the international community to pursue firm policies against the regime and stand by the Iranian people
According to a VSSE note, Assadi is a spy who operated covertly at the Iranian embassy in Vienna.
Belgian State Security officials believe he worked for the ministry's so-called Department 312, the Internal Security Directorate, which is on the list of terrorist organizations in the European Union.
Assadi's attorney, Dimitri de Beco, told the Associated Press his client was denying all of the charges brought against him.
"His defense will raise a number of procedural questions, including his diplomatic immunity, as it is undisputed that he had diplomatic status, at least at the time of the facts," de Beco wrote in a brief message, expressing his I hope so Trial will not be a "political process".
The MEK, once an armed organization based in Iraq, is the most structured Iranian opposition group in exile and loathed by the Iranian authorities.
It was removed from the EU and US terrorist lists a few years ago after denouncing violence and getting Western politicians to stand up for it.
The MEK supports Trump's tough line against Iran and supports sanctions against the country.
MEK's leader Rajavi claims Assadi received direct orders from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"The leaders of the regime must be prosecuted and brought to justice," she said during a video conference call with journalists last month.
Assadi reportedly recruited the Saadouni and Naami couple, who were of Iranian origin but lived in Antwerp, to get information about the Iranian opposition.
The fourth suspect, Arefani, is a Brussels citizen who is suspected of having traveled to Villepinte on the day of the planned attack.
Investigators discovered that he had a phone with Assadi's number.
The travel reports received from the AP show that Assadi made several trips to Iran in the months leading up to the rally and returned from the last one a little over a week before the foiled attack.
After Assadi arrived on the commercial flight to Austria, he allegedly handed the bomb over to Saadouni and Naami during a meeting at a Pizza Hut restaurant in Luxembourg just two days before they were arrested.
Both have denied that they knew the diplomat – whose code name was Daniel – had given them a bomb.
Naami said she believed the package contained fireworks.
The Belgian bomb disposal unit said the acetone peroxide in the couple's Mercedes car was ready for use.
It was "wrapped in plastic and hidden in the lining of a vanity case".
Thousands of exiled Iranians gathered in Villepinte north of Paris to hear Maryam Rajavi, chairman of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in June 2014
Iranians greet Maryam Rajavi, chairman of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, at a rally in Villepinte, a northern suburb of Paris, in June 2009
They also found a remote digital shutter release in a small Naami bag that contained feminine hygiene items.
When he was arrested, investigators also found a red notebook in Assadi's car with instructions on how to handle the bomb.
Analysis of the suspects' text messages and emails revealed that they were using code language to communicate, with "PlayStation 4" being the purported name for the explosive.
The French side of the investigation also found that Assadi was visiting Villepinte during the 2017 MEK rally, possibly on a reconnaissance trip.
If convicted, the four suspects face between five and 20 years in prison for "attempted terrorist murder and involvement in the activities of a terrorist organization".
The hearings last between two and three days. A judgment is expected to be made at the end of next month.
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