On 17 November 2020, Italian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Gianna Gancia of the Identity and Democracy Group 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 27 November 2020, Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna, will face court in Antwerp on charges of personally organising a delivery of TATP explosives to a couple who intended to attack a gathering in Paris in the summer of 2018.
Hundreds of prominent politicians from both sides of the Atlantic attended the gathering, including many European dignitaries.
Assadi lost his diplomatic immunity within 48 hours and was handed over to the Belgian authorities. He has been awaiting trial ever since.
While being interrogated, Assadi highlighted acts of terrorism carried out by the Iranian regime in the broader Middle East and speculated that there were a number of terrorist groups watching his case and standing ready to launch new attacks on Western soil if Belgium does not ‘support them’ by letting the defendant off.
1. Does the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy agree that such conduct is powerful evidence of the need for a firmer policy against the Iranian regime’s threatening activities in Europe?
2. What recommendations has he made to the Government of Iran regarding the threats that its arrested diplomat Assadolah Assadi spoke about in an attempt to influence the outcome of his trial on terrorism charges?”
On 25 January 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The High Representative/Vice-President (HRVP) is aware that Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi is facing a trial in Antwerp. For that reason, the HRVP deems it appropriate to refrain from any comments that could affect the independence, impartiality and neutrality of ongoing legal proceedings.
The HRVP aims to ensure the security of the EU and its citizens in his work. It is a key issue in all contacts and communications between the HRVP and his interlocutors, including the Iranian authorities.”
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