An Iranian diplomat and four others have been arrested for planning to conduct a terrorist attack at a high-profile Iranian opposition group’s rally in France this past weekend, Belgian authorities announced Monday.
Two of the suspects en route from Belgium were arrested with 500 grams of explosive chemicals, along with a detonation device, Belgian security authorities said in a statement. The Paris event was attended by several high-profile Americans, including President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
According to Reuters:
“The 38-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, identified only as Amir S. and Nasimeh N., were charged with attempted terrorist murder and preparation of a terrorist act,” the statement said. Police carried out five separate raids linked to the bombing plot on Saturday, authorities announced.
Amir and Nasimeh were reportedly in contact with the Iranian diplomat, whose name has not been released. We do know that the person was a diplomat at the Iranian embassy in Austria. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is set to visit Austria on Wednesday.
The “Free Iran” conference was sponsored by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is part of the the controversial MEK (Mojahedin-e Khalq), a cult-like movement that claims to be the largest Iranian opposition organization. However, the outfit has in the past promoted Islamist and Marxist priorities, and it’s reportedly deeply unpopular inside Iran. The MEK fought on the side of Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran war, which is the primary cause for resentment against it inside of Iran’s borders.
“The terrorists from the Mullahs’ regime in Belgium assisted by its terrorist-diplomats planned this attack,” the NCRI said in a statement to AFP.