An Iranian opposition group rally that featured Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was targeted by two Belgian nationals who planned to bomb the event, officials in Belgium say.
The group, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI,) was holding a rally in the Parisian suburb of Villepente. The man and woman were charged Monday. The couple, who are married according to AFP, have so far only been identified as Amir S. (38) and Nasimeh N. (33.)
They were arrested by special polices units and were apprehended in their Mercedes with 500 grams of TATP, a homemade explosive, and a detonator, according to Belgian intelligence services.
The Belgian nationals, of Iranian descent, were charged with attempted terrorist murder and preparation of a terrorist act, according to an official statement released by Belgian prosecutors.
Here is what #Belgium prosecutor announced in full about detention of #iran related people in #belgium and #france , #germany and alleged plan to bomb the #Paris gathering this past weekend pic.twitter.com/j25mMocTtD
— Hannahkaviani (@Hannahkaviani) July 2, 2018
At least two additional arrests have been made in relation to the case, including of an Iranian diplomat to Austria in Germany, and someone identified by the a Belgian prosecutor as Merhad A. in France.
NCRI was labeled a terrorist organization by the United States in 1994, and was only stripped of that designation by the U.S. in 2012.
“The conspiracy of the terrorist dictatorship ruling Iran to attack the Grand Gathering of the Iranian Resistance in Villepinte, Paris was foiled,” the group said in a statement. “The mullahs’ regime’s terrorists in Belgium, helped by the regime’s diplomat terrorists, had designed for the attack.”
On eve of Rouhani visit to #Austria, police in #Belgium announces neutralizing #terrorist attack against #FreeIran2018 convention in #Paris. Two arrested for plotting. An #Iran regime #Vienna diplomat arrested in Germany in connection with plot too. #ExpelIranDiplomatTerrorists
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 2, 2018
The event, which French officials say drew a crowd of 25,000, saw Giuliani and Gingrich push for regime change in Iran, noting it was more possible now than ever before thanks to recent demonstrations and protests in the country, according to AFP.
Giuliani is a regular speaker at NCRI events, and so is new Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The Belgian prosecutor’s official statement was congratulatory to Belgian police forces and intelligence agencies, as well as to international cooperation, saying cooperation between multiple agencies, including French and German authorities, “has made it possible to prevent a terrorist attack.”