With European justice rapidly closing in on the criminal Iranian regime, the mullahs are in full panic. The regime’s previous acts of terror are currently under investigation, or have been dealt with, in multiple courts. The case that has been concluded was that of Assadollah Assadi, the senior Vienna-based Iranian diplomat who was ordered to bomb the annual ‘Free Iran’ rally in Paris in June 2018. Had he succeeded he would have killed and injured hundreds. He and three co-conspirators received 15-20 years prison terms for terrorism in a Belgian court.

Another case involves the assassination in Switzerland of Dr Kazem Rajavi by a 13-member Iranian hit-squad in 1990. The Swiss Federal Criminal Court has now ordered the Federal Prosecutor to pursue this case as a crime against humanity and genocide. A third case involves a former senior Iranian diplomat from the regime’s embassy in Oslo and a Lebanese national who attempted to assassinate a Norwegian publisher, who had published Salman Rushdie’s novel. A fourth case before a court in Istanbul, involves the assassination of Massoud Molavi in Ankara in 2019, again involving the Iranian embassy. Although the assassins escaped, Mohammad Reza Naserzadeh, an Iranian diplomat, has been charged with complicity in the murder. 

Meanwhile, the trial of Hamid Noury, under universal jurisdiction, is underway in Sweden. Noury has been charged with crimes against humanity for his involvement in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, where it is alleged, he helped with the selection of prisoners and then attended and participated in their execution, under the supervision of Ebrahim Raisi, now the president of Iran. The majority of political prisoners executed in 1988 were supporters of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran/ Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK). In daily protests and uprisings, resistance units of the PMOI/MEK are now actively challenging the mullahs’ regime across Iran.

Against the background of criminality that has exposed the way the theocratic regime uses its embassies as bomb factories and conduits for terrorist attacks and espionage, the mullahs are desperately trying to secure the release of their bombers and assassins in Europe. On the fringes of the Munich Security Conference in February, the regime’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, met with the foreign ministers of Belgium and Sweden, pleading for the release of Assadollah Assadi and Hamid Noury. The Fars news agency reported that the website of the Iranian regime’s foreign ministry claimed Amirabdollahian had raised the issue of Assadi’s imprisonment with his Belgian counterpart and told his Swedish counterpart that “it’s not acceptable that the relations between our two countries are affected by the conspiracies of the PMOI/MEK”.

The foreign ministers of Belgium and Sweden may be interested to read the latest report from Amnesty International outlining their priorities for the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council. On Iran, Amnesty calls on the UN to increase its focus on the crisis of systemic impunity in Iran for past and ongoing crimes against humanity and other gross and systemic human rights violations. The report goes on to call for the collection of evidence of the most serious crimes under international law, with a view to future prosecutions of those responsible. The Amnesty document highlights those crimes such as the unlawful killing of hundreds of unarmed men, women and children, and widespread commission of arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances during and in the aftermath of the crackdown on nationwide protests in November 2019. They also call for an investigation into past and ongoing crimes against humanity related to the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial execution of several thousand political dissidents in 1988. 

Amnesty concludes with a demand that should Iran continue to refuse to uphold its obligations under international law, the international community to take action, through the establishment of an international investigation. They state that the past failure to investigate all those against whom there is evidence of direct involvement with these crimes, who include the former head of the judiciary and current president Ebrahim Raisi, has not only further entrenched impunity, but also facilitated the repetition of gross and systematic violations. 

The fact that the Iranian regime’s foreign minister thinks that he can somehow influence his counterparts from Belgium and Sweden into complying with his spurious request to interfere with our European judicial system reveals a key reality about the theocratic regime. Clearly, they have a shallow or non-existent understanding of European justice. Under our system of justice, the decision of the courts is inviolate and cannot be interfered with or overturned by politicians. Justice is blind and based on the evidence before the courts and not on the status or power of the accused. The mullahs are now dreading the further onslaught of evidence that will expose their role as the Godfather of international terror and in particular, the role of their president as ‘The Butcher of Tehran’. It can only be hoped that the foreign ministers of Belgium and Sweden informed their Iranian opposite number that in Europe, unlike in his country, our judges are not subject to threats, blackmail, or political interference. Those who break the law in Europe will always be held to account.