The Belgian court docket additionally convicted three accomplices of Mr. Assadi, all twin residents of Iran and Belgium, who got jail phrases of 15 to 18 years and stripped of their Belgian citizenship. All three are believed to be brokers of the Iranian intelligence ministry, prosecutors mentioned.
The top of Belgium’s State Safety Service, Jaak Raes, mentioned in a letter to the prosecutors that intelligence officers had decided the deliberate bombing was a state-sanctioned operation, accredited by Tehran.
Mr. Assadi was hooked up to the Iranian mission in Austria when he equipped explosives for the deliberate assault. Prosecutors mentioned that he led to a pound of the explosive triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, and a detonator from Iran to Vienna in his baggage after which drove it to Luxembourg. There, he handed it over on June 30, 2018, to an Iranian-Belgian couple at a Pizza Hut. Mr. Assadi was arrested at a service station in Germany, the place he didn’t have diplomatic immunity, as he drove again to Austria.
The couple, Amir Saadouni, 40, and his spouse, Nassimeh Naami, 36, had been granted political asylum and later citizenship in Belgium. They have been arrested as they drove to Paris from Antwerp on the day of the rally. The fourth defendant, Mehrdad Arefani, 57, was an affiliate of Mr. Assadi who was speculated to information the couple on the rally.
Iran has been accused prior to now of making an attempt to remove opponents overseas. Denmark known as for sanctions in opposition to Iran for planning one other assassination there in 2018.
Mr. Assadi was in touch with Iranian brokers throughout Europe, in response to paperwork supplied to Belgian prosecutors by the police in Germany and the Netherlands, in response to Belgium’s Flemish broadcaster, VRT. The paperwork embody a pocket book present in his automobile containing quite a few receipts for funds to folks recognized solely by aliases.
A be aware from Belgium’s intelligence and safety company recognized Mr. Assadi as an officer of Iran’s intelligence and safety ministry who operated undercover on the Iranian Embassy in Vienna, in response to The Related Press. Belgium’s state safety officers mentioned he labored for the ministry’s so-called Division 312, the directorate for inner safety, which is on the European Union’s listing of terrorist organizations