Iranian diplomat jailed for 20 years over bomb plot

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An Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, was found guilty of plotting a thwarted bomb attack against a big French rally held by an exiled opposition group of Iran.

The 49-year-old diplomat, who was appointed at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, was handed a 20-year jail term by the court in Antwerp in Belgium.

The court also awarded death sentence to three other suspect in the case.

The diplomat was facing charges of a plot to bomb a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in June 2018. The bid had been foiled by German, French and Belgian police.

“The ruling shows two things: A diplomat doesn’t have immunity for criminal acts … and the responsibility of the Iranian state in what could have been carnage,” Belgian prosecution lawyer Georges-Henri Beauthier told reporters the court.

Assadi supplied explosives for the planned attack when he was appointed in Austria. He was arrested in Germany, where he did not have diplomatic immunity.

The verdict comes weeks after US President Joe Biden assumed the office, with Iran hoping he will end the sanctions introduced by his predecessor Trump.

Iran’s foreign ministry has condemned the process as “illegal and a clear violation of international law, especially the 1961 Vienna Convention (on diplomatic relations)”.

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