Iran Summons German Envoy over Extradition of Diplomat to Belgium

The Iranian foreign ministry summoned the German ambassador to Tehran to voice protest at Berlin’s extradition of an Iranian diplomat to Brussels over alleged plotting of a bomb attack on a recent meeting of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) terrorist group in Paris.

The director-general for Europe affairs at the foreign ministry met Michael Klor-Berchtold to convey the Islamic Republic’s strong opposition to the arrest, detention and extradition of the Iranian diplomat, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Wednesday.

He added that the move was part of a manufactured plot by those opposing Iran-Europe relations and was planned by the MKO itself.

It was stressed during the meeting that “this ploy is in line (with attempts) to damage Iran-Europe ties”, and was a show to compensate for the failures of the terrorist group as well as those of the Israeli regime, Qassemi said.

He added that the treatment of the Iranian diplomat was in contravention of the accepted rules of diplomatic law, and said Tehran demanded the immediate repatriation of the diplomat.

Qassemi said that to “help protect the basic fundamentals of international law and to fight various forms of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its right to follow up on the issue through legal and political channels and will implement a proper decision in due time”.

Germany extradited to Belgium an Iranian diplomat suspected of plotting a bomb attack in France, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Back in June, Belgian authorities claimed that the Iranian diplomat had been arrested along with a 38-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, suspected of plotting a bomb attack on the MKO meeting in Paris attended by US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers.

They added that Belgian police intercepted the two suspects in Belgium with 500 grams of the homemade explosive TATP and a detonation device found in their car.

The diplomat, 46-year-old Assadollah A, was arrested in Germany, suspected of having been in contact with the two arrested in Belgium.

Three other people were also arrested in France in connection with the case, two of whom were released.

Senior Iranian officials have dismissed the claims against the diplomat, saying they were part of a plot to harm Iran-Europe ties as the two sides seek to bolster cooperation.

Qassemi once again on Wednesday voiced Iran’s deep regret and dissatisfaction over the German government’s extradition and pledged the Islamic Republic’s determination to the plot behind the diplomat’s arrest and extradition.

Iran “will firmly and through diplomatic channels follow up on the case of this diplomat, who has fallen prey to a plot by those opposing further constructive ties between Iran and Germany and other European countries, until the truth will out and until the clarification of the terrorist groups’ malicious move,” he said.

The anti-Iranian currents in the European countries have a long history of terrorist activities and it is not so difficult for them to design such scenarios, he added.

The MKO, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and western targets.

The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by the MKO members in 1981.

The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.

The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.

Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who argued for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.

The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in September 2012, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under the US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with the American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.

In September 2012, the last groups of the MKO terrorists left Camp Ashraf, their main training center in Iraq’s Diyala province. They have been transferred to Camp Liberty. Hundreds of the MKO terrorists have now been sent to Europe, where their names were taken off the blacklist even two years before the US.

The MKO has assassinated over 12,000 Iranians in the last 4 decades. The terrorist group had even killed large numbers of Americans and Europeans in several terror attacks before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Some 17,000 Iranians have lost their lives in terror attacks in the 35 years after the Revolution.

Rumors were confirmed in September 2016 about the death of MKO ringleader, Massoud Rajavi, as a former top Saudi intelligence official disclosed in a gaffe during an address to his followers.

Rajavi’s death was revealed after Turki al-Faisal who was attending the MKO annual gathering in Paris made a gaffe and spoke of the terrorist group’s ringleader as the “late Rajavi” twice.

Faced with Faisal’s surprising gaffe, Rajavi’s wife, Maryam, changed her happy face with a complaining gesture and cued the interpreter to be watchful of translation words and exclude the gaffe from the Persian translation.

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