There was the usual outpouring of criticism when President Trump added the name of Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, to the US terrorist list. The left-wing press predictably went into meltdown, protesting in anger against the blacklisting of a foreign minister. But few people expected President Macron of France to extend an invitation to Zarif to attend the G7 summit in Biarritz in late August. This appeared to be a particularly provocative move by the French President, given that Donald Trump was also attending the conference in Biarritz. Macron’s invitation should have come as no surprise, however. He has positioned himself as Europe’s leading appeaser of the medieval, fascist Iranian regime, determined to put French trade with Iran ahead of any concern for human rights abuse or crimes against humanity. But, following Zarif’s flying visit to Biarritz and his on-going tours of Finland, Sweden and Norway, it is worth taking a closer look at why the US State Department decided to label Zarif as a terrorist.

As Foreign Minister, Zarif is in charge of Iran’s army of ambassadors and diplomatic staff. In June 2018, he was therefore responsible for the orders given to Assadollah Assadi, a diplomat from the Iranian Embassy in Vienna. Assadi was allegedly instructed to hand over 500gms of high explosives and a detonator to an Iranian couple from Antwerp. He allegedly ordered them to drive to Paris and detonate the bomb at a major rally organised by the National Council for Resistance in Iran (NCRI) and attended by over 100,000 people. A combined operation by the German, French and Belgian intelligence services led to the arrest of Assadi and the other conspirators, all of whom are now in prison in Belgium, awaiting trial on charges of terrorism.

It was well known that Rudy Giuliani and other high-ranking international political leaders would be attending and speaking at this rally, so Zarif must clearly have planned the terrorist attack with Mahmoud Alavi – Iran’s Minister of Intelligence and Reza Amiri Moghaddam – Head of the Ministry of Intelligence & Security’s  (MOIS) Foreign Intelligence and Movements Organisation. Such a high-level atrocity could only have been validated by Hassan Rouhani, the so-called ‘moderate’ President of Iran and the country’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Zarif had even arranged to fly to Vienna, the day following the proposed bombing outrage, presumably to congratulate Assadi personally and to spread the usual lies and propaganda, no doubt blaming the Mojahedin e-Khalq/ People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MEK/PMOI), the main opposition to the mullahs, for planning the attack on their own supporters so that they could point the finger of blame at the Iranian regime. 

But Zarif’s plan backfired horribly, leaving him lamely trying to claim that the arrest of his diplomat and other trained Iranian agents was a ‘false flag operation’ designed to deceive, by enemies of Iran. It will be interesting to see what the Belgian courts make of this ludicrous claim. Despite the fact that the bomb plot was targeted on French soil, it has now emerged that President Macron, in a grovelling act of appeasement, attempted to subvert any leak of the news, in case it upset his friends in Tehran. Happily, his efforts failed and the plot was quickly exposed.

Ironically, the senior diplomat whom Assadi had replaced in the Vienna Embassy was Mostafa Roodaki, another trained MOIS agent. He had previously  been the head of the Iranian regime's intelligence station in Austria and had been coordinating activities against the MEK/PMOI across the whole of Europe. Roodaki had been redeployed to Albania by Zarif, with the rank of First Secretary in the Iranian Embassy in Tirana. He was joined there by a new ambassador appointed by Zarif, Gholam Hossein Mohammadinia, a former high-ranking Iranian intelligence official who had also been a member of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team. Zarif had clearly instructed his new team of ‘diplomats’ in Albania that their main mandate was to track down and eliminate the MEK/PMOI who had created a new compound in the country housing over 2500 of their members.

But once again Zarif’s plans were thwarted. Albanian intelligence officers uncovered a plot to detonate a bomb at a Nowruz (Iranian New Year) gathering of MEK/PMOI members in Tirana. Two MOIS agents, together with Ambassador Mohammadinia and his First Secretary Roodaki, were expelled from the country by the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.And these were not the only terror plots that bear the fingerprints of Zarif. In October 2018, the Iranian regime sent another senior MOIS agent - Mohammad Davoudzadeh Lului - with close ties to the Iranian embassy and its ambassador in Norway,to assassinate an opposition figure in Denmark. He too now awaits trial on terrorism charges. Also, in 2018 two Iranian diplomats were expelled from the Netherlands for acts of terror.

With this catalogue of assassinations and bomb plots involving Iranian diplomatic personnel under the leadership and guidance of Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, it is not surprising that the US has decided to label him as a terrorist. Yet the West continues to believe that his mastery of English and his benign smile mean that he must be a trustworthy moderate with whom we can negotiate. It may be worth remembering that Hitler’s Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop was also a fluent English speaker and could also smile benignly for the cameras. He was executed as a war criminal on 16thOctober 1946.