The Malta Independent 12 December 2018, Wednesday

Maltese MP attended Paris conference that was target of foiled bomb plot

Neil Camilleri Tuesday, 17 July 2018, 08:30 Last update: about 6 months ago

A Maltese Member of Parliament attended an event that was the target of a foiled bomb plot last month, The Malta Independent has learnt.

Nationalist MP Mario Galea (below) even addressed the ‘Free Iran – the Alternative’ gathering, organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which was held in Paris on 30 June. Galea has been invited to represent the PN at the event for a number of consecutive years. 

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This year’s rally, it later emerged, was being targeted by terrorists, but the attack was fortunately thwarted by the Belgian authorities.

A few days after the event was held, a senior Iranian diplomat was arrested in Germany, and was later charged with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder.

Assadollah Assadi, a Vienna-based diplomat, is suspected of contracting a couple in Belgium to attack the annual meeting of the exiled Iranian opposition group in Villepinte, near Paris, German federal prosecutors said.

Assadi allegedly gave the Antwerp-based couple a device containing 500 grams of the explosive TATP during a meeting in Luxembourg in late June, prosecutors said in a written statement.

Assadi was detained earlier this month near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after the couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car.

In their statement, German prosecutors allege that Assadi, who has been registered as a diplomat at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna since 2014, was a member of the Iranian intelligence service "Ministry of Intelligence and Security," whose tasks "primarily include the intensive observation and combatting of opposition groups inside and outside of Iran." After the arrest, the Austrian government said it would lift Assadi’s diplomatic immunity.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of using its embassies to plot extremist attacks in Europe and warned Tehran that its actions have "a real high cost" after it threatened to disrupt Mideast oil supplies.

"Just this past week there were Iranians arrested in Europe who were preparing to conduct a terror plot in Paris, France. We have seen this malign behavior in Europe," Pompeo said Tuesday in an interview with Sky News Arabia during a short trip to the United Arab Emirates.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has called the allegations of a foiled extremist plot a ploy.

In an email sent to Mario Galea and other attendees, Hossein Abedini, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said this planned attack was “the most serious state-sponsored terrorist plot by the dictator regume ruling Iran against European citizens and the Iranian Opposition movement.”

A number of European and American diplomats attended the event, among them former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

 

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