Germany approves extradition of Iranian diplomat over alleged bomb plot

Source: Germany approves extradition of Iranian diplomat over alleged bomb plot | The Times of Israel

Hebrew media reported earlier this year that the planned attack on an opposition rally in Paris was thwarted by the Mossad

In this file photo taken on July 11, 2018, activists of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hold placards reading 'Deliver the Iranian diplomat - terrorist to Belgium' during a demonstration calling for the extradition of a secret service officer to Belgium in front of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin (AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ)

In this file photo taken on July 11, 2018, activists of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hold placards reading ‘Deliver the Iranian diplomat – terrorist to Belgium’ during a demonstration calling for the extradition of a secret service officer to Belgium in front of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin (AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ)

A German court said Monday it gave the green light for an Iranian diplomat linked to an alleged bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally to be handed over to Belgium.

The superior regional court in Bamberg said in a statement that it had on September 27 approved the extradition of the Iranian diplomat based in Vienna who has been named as Assadollah Assadi.

“The wanted man cannot cite diplomatic immunity because he was on a several day holiday trip outside his host state Austria and not traveling between his host country and the state that dispatched him,” the court said.

The suspected plan to target a gathering of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) organized by dissident group The People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) in a Paris suburb came to light a few days after the June 30 event.

People hold pictures of relatives killed by the Iranian regime during the “Free Iran 2018 – the Alternative” event on June 30, 2018, in Villepinte, north of Paris. Six people were arrested in Belgium, Germany and France for an alleged plot to attack the rally, including an Iranian diplomat and his wife. (AFP Photo/Zakaria Abdelkafi)

Hebrew media reported earlier this year that the plot was thwarted by Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Six people were arrested in Belgium, France and Germany, two of whom were later released.

German prosecutors say Assadi, believed to be an intelligence agent, ordered a couple to attack the rally and had handed them the explosives at a June meeting in Luxembourg.

Tehran has dismissed the alleged bomb plot as a “sinister false flag ploy” designed to discredit Iran at a time when it faces major diplomatic tensions with the United States.

Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks at the Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights and democracy at the Grand Hyatt, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The rally in the Paris suburb of Villepinte was attended by several allies of US President Donald Trump, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, both of whom urged regime change in Iran.

Belgian authorities in July requested the extradition of both Assadi and a man identified as Merhad A., who was detained in Paris.

Belgian police believe Merhad A. is an accomplice of a husband and wife team caught in Brussels in possession of 500 grams of the powerful explosive TATP and a detonator.

The couple were identified as Amir S. and Nasimeh N.

All three are Belgian nationals of Iranian origin.

The MEK, formed in the 1960s to overthrow the shah of Iran, fought the rise of the mullahs in Tehran following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

It earned itself a listing as a “terrorist organization” by the US State Department in 1997 and was only removed from terror watchlists by the European Union in 2008 and by Washington in 2012.

 

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