The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) raised the case of Assadolah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat sentenced to 20 years in prison in Belgium on charges of terrorism and terrorist murder, in a letter to Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, on 20 February 2021.
The letter notes that following Assadi’s arrest in Germany, a notebook was confiscated in the diplomat’s car proving that he was leading a wider Iranian network across Europe.
As the trial against the Iranian diplomat and his accomplices concluded on 3 December 2020, 240 cross-party lawmakers from 19 European countries including the UK, issued a statement urging the UK and European Governments to protect Europe from Iran’s state terrorism.
The lawmakers also ask European governments to alter their failed policy on Iran in favour of a coordinated firm policy that prioritises pressure on the regime and accountability for regime leaders.
In the BCFIF letter to Foreign Secretary, Lord Alton reiterated this call and wrote:
The court ruling and the pre-trial investigation show beyond any doubt that this was an act of state terrorism by the regime in Iran against the country’s organised pro-democracy opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), by targeting their conference, leader and supporters on European soil.
The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) regrets the Government’s silence on this serious threat to British citizens and Europe’s overall security.
In fact, our European partners and the EU plan instead to attend and invite [Iranian Foreign Minister] Zarif to speak at an Online Economic Forum in the beginning of March. [This] sends all the wrong signals to Tehran and sets a very dangerous precedent by rewarding the regime’s criminal behaviour.
The UK and its diplomats must refrain from participating in such dangerous diplomatic events and reject any attempt by the EU to glance over or excuse the direct involvement of Iranian state in act of terrorism.
A Global Britain must have the courage to take the lead in Europe to address the serious threats of Iran’s state terrorism.
We urge you and the UK Government to do just that in response to the conviction of an Iranian diplomat on terrorism charges by investigating if Iranian diplomats in the UK are involved in similar activities. If that is the case, then those responsible including possible agent, must be prosecuted, and expelled from the UK.
We call on you and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to downgrade diplomatic relations with Iran until such time that Tehran provides verifiable proof that it has stopped its state terrorism and terrorist activities. If Tehran refuses to end its unacceptable behaviour than a more firm response such as expelling Iranian diplomats and closing the Iranian Embassy must be considered and implemented.
In the meantime, we hope you will soon implement the recommendations by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee with regards to proscribing the entire IRGC and to use the Global Human Rights Sanction regime to impose punitive measures on Iranian officials involved in terrorism including Zarif, Supreme Leader Khamenei, and President Rouhani, and those acting on their behalf.
British Committee for Iran Freedom
22 February 2021