On 1 March 2021, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Javier Zarzalejos and Milan Zver of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), posed a written parliamentary question to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell:
“On 4 February 2021, Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat, and three accomplices were sentenced to up to 20 years in jail by the Criminal Court of Antwerp for an attempted terrorist attack targeting a rally of the Iranian opposition held in France in 2018.
The trial, the first one against an Iranian diplomat since 1979, not only proved that the Iranian State was behind the attacks, it also showed that the regime uses diplomatic immunity to cover up its state terrorism network on EU soil. However, neither the European External Action Service nor the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) have so far reacted to what could have been a massacre at the heart of the EU.
1. Given the proven involvement of the Iranian regime in a terrorist plot on EU soil, does the VP/HR intend to end his silence and publicly react to these state terrorism practices of Iran?
2. Does the VP/HR intend to propose to the Council any retaliatory measures against Iran in order to prevent any future Iranian terrorist activities?
3. How does the VP/HR intend to ensure the security of the EU and its residents against Iranian terrorist activities?”
On 5 May 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell, responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The High Representative/Vice-President (HR/VP) has followed all the stages of the trial involving Mr Assadi and has taken due note of the sentence issued by the Court of Antwerp. As a representative of the EU institutions, the HR/VP does not comment on the decision of the judicial authorities of any EU Member State.
The HR/VP wishes to recall that, as part of the EU’s response to the foiled attacks on its soil in 2018, the Council added Mr Assadi to the EU terrorist list in January 2019, along with another Iranian individual and the Directorate for Internal Security of the Iranian Ministry for Intelligence and Security.
As part of the EU’s comprehensive policy towards Iran, outlined in Council conclusions of 4 February 2019, the HR/VP will continue to raise all issues of concern with the Iranian authorities with the aim of ensuring the security of the EU and its citizens. To this end, the HR/VP will continue to consider all EU available tools.”
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