LONDON: A group of former Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have slammed Iran for its campaign of terror across Europe.
A cross-party panel of former European policymakers and experts on Tehran’s use of terrorism criticized the regime for using intelligence assets as terrorists.
The panel, hosted by the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ), gathered amid a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the EU, with an Iranian diplomat currently on trial for planning to bomb an anti-Tehran rally in Paris.
Assadollah Assadi — a senior Iranian diplomat at the embassy in Vienna, Austria — and his three co-conspirators are charged with plotting a terror attack on an annual gathering of the Iranian opposition in 2018.
The “Free Iran” gathering was launched to show support for the Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi’s proposed roadmap for the future of Iran, which calls for the universal right to vote, free elections, and a market economy.
A court in Belgium is expected to offer its ruling on the case of Assadi and his conspirators on Feb. 4.
The ISJ panel included Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former vice president of the European Parliament, Giulio Terzi, former Italian foreign minister, Struan Stevenson, former Scotland MEP, and Paulo Casaca, a former Portuguese MEP.
Vidal-Quadras said: “I would advise policymakers that if you want peace and stability in the region, if you want human rights to be respected in Iran, do not engage with this regime.”
On the foiled plot to bomb the rally in 2018, Vidal-Quadras said: “Fortunately, this plot was disrupted through the cooperation of European governments. The latest revelations from the trial show that the Iranian-Belgian couple Nasimeh Naami and Amir Saadouni, who received the bomb directly from Assadi, were instructed to place the explosive device as close as possible to Rajavi.”
He added: “I was sitting very close to Rajavi. First-rank political figures were sitting in a space of a few meters around her. You can imagine the consequences if such an attack succeeded.”
Terzi told the audience: “There are many questions about this case and European policy. How is Europe going to stop these terrorist activities? If we look at history, there have been a lot of terrorist actions on European soil that the regime has denied despite a huge amount of evidence that pointed to Iran. How will Europe stop these terrorist attacks against Europeans and political refugees?
Asked by Arab News how the EU could combat Iran’s reign of terror across the continent, Stevenson said: “The only policy that works is toughness and decisiveness.”
He added: “To stop Tehran’s terrorism, the EU must list the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Quds Force and the intelligence services as terrorist outfits.
“Secondly, the EU must investigate who Assadi met in Europe, and whom he paid. Identify and arrest these agents and expel them.”
His final suggestion was for the EU to “shut down Iran’s embassies until we have absolute assurance that the regime will dismantle their terror network in Europe.”
Casaca said: “European institutions should reinforce European unity, uphold the rule of law, and ensure the protection of values that keep our countries together, including freedom and protection from terrorism.
“They must not bow to foreign terrorist powers that want us to bow before them. The regime must not enjoy impunity in causing terrorism.”