Tom Ridge, National Interest, 3 February 2019
In January, German authorities arrested an Afghan-German dual national for spying on behalf of an Iranian intelligence agency. The incident was far from the first, and only underscored the potential threat lurking behind each new revelation.
Last summer, four individuals were arrested in connection with an Iranian plot to set off explosives at a large gathering organized near Paris by the Iranian opposition. German authorities arrested the mastermind of that plot as well, a high-ranking Iranian diplomat named Assadollah Assadi , who was later extradited to face charges in Belgium along with the operatives to whom he had provided the explosives.
In March, two other Iranian operatives were arrested in Albania, where they were allegedly plotting an attack on the home of roughly 3,000 members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), a group that was blamed by Iranian government officials for the anti-government protests that shook the Islamic Republic over the past year.
These plots, along with recent assassinations and attempted assassinations, have awakened European authorities to the escalating threat of Iran-backed terrorism. The political response, however, has been slow to develop.
Soon after completing an investigation that left no doubt about Tehran’s culpability for the Paris plot targeting the National Council of Resistance (NCRI) gathering, the French government imposed sanctions on the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and some of its known operatives. But it was only last month that these sanctions were adopted by the rest of the European Union . And serious critics of the Iranian regime do not believe they go nearly far enough.