Iranian nationals gather in Brussels to urge EU to sanction ‘terrorist regime’
Monday, 22 February 2021
Several members of the Iranian community gathered at the Schuman roundabout in Brussels to call on the European Union to sanction the “terrorist regime of Iran,” during a meeting between the 27 member states at its headquarters on Monday.
The protest, organised by IranRef, the association of Iranian refugees in Belgium, denounced the lack of communication from the EU since the conviction of the Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi for his role in a foiled terrorist attack near Paris in June 2018.
“After the verdict of the criminal court in Antwerp, it is clear that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had approved the foiled attack in Paris. The European Union should now close all Iranian embassies in Europe,” according to Nobari Mehdi of the IranRef association.
The demonstrators also urged the EU to recognise the country’s secret services as a terrorist organisation.
The verdict found that the plot was coordinated in Iran, saying the explosive was made and tested in Tehran, adding that Assadi had transported it abroad via a commercial flight in an official diplomatic pouch.
The European Commission said it was analysing the implications following the court’s ruling at the start of February.
“The acts committed by this person are totally unacceptable. He was already on the EU’s anti-terrorist list,” the Commission said, but refused to comment on the potential implications of the ruling on relations between the EU and Iran, specifically when it comes to the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
‘Silence and inaction’
In December 2020, the United Nations General Assembly had already condemned the regime for violations of the Iranian people’s fundamental rights, after more than 1,500 protesters, the majority of them young people, were killed in 2019 during uprisings.
Another 200 members of the Iranian communities in Europe, known as the Alliance for Public Awareness, have criticised the “silence and inaction of Western countries for the sake of obtaining an agreement on the nuclear issue,” in a letter to the President of the Council of the European Union, Charles Michel, on Monday.
“Any policy or approach towards the medieval regime ruling our nation must take into account the […] disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Iranian people, its terrorism directed against dissidents on European soil, and its destabilising activities in the Middle East,” the letter read.
It further stated that the EU must recognise and support the overwhelming majority of Iranians’ desire for change, which it said was reflected in three major uprisings since 2017.