Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi and three Iranian-Belgians went on trial in Antwerp, Belgium, marking the first time an EU country has put an Iranian official on trial for terrorism. The four are charged with planning an attack on a rally of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in 2018. The NCRI is political wing of the exiled Iranian opposition group, Mujahedin-e Khalq, which is seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic. Assadi served at Tehran’s embassy in Vienna and is believed to have been working for Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. (Photo of 2018 rally in Paris via NCRI)
At least 24 people, including 12 Revolutionary Guards, were killed and more than 60 were wounded when gunmen attacked a military parade in the city of Ahvaz, capital of Iran's restive southwestern province of Khuzestan. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed "a foreign regime" backed by the United States for the attack. A representative for the separatist al-Ahwaz Arab Liberation Front told the London-based Iran International TV that the Ahwaz National Resistance, a coalition of separatist groups, was responsible for the attack, but insisted that civilians were not the target. (Map: ResearchGate)
In a perfectly predictable response, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US of fomenting the latest irruption in the wave of popular protests that has swept the country since the start of the year. Just as predictable was US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's transparently bogus statement of support for the Iranian protesters. Somewhat more surreal was the spectacle of Rudolph Giuliani, addressing a Paris rally staged by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), political wing of the cultish armed opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq—once listed as a terrorist organization by both the US and EU. Giuliani of course had to invoke the dreaded "regime change" phrase at the NCRI rally. This kind of US "support" hurts more than it helps, allowing the ayatollahs to more easily portray protesters as pawns, dupes or agents of the West. (Photo: Center for Human Rights in Iran)
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