Five British MPs escaped death at a rally after an Iranian diplomat allegedly smuggled a ‘Mother of Satan’ bomb on a flight only for the terror plot to be foiled.
Assadollah Assadi, 48, who goes on trial later today, is accused of concealing the device in a diplomatic bag that was exempt from airport security searches to board a flight from Tehran to Vienna, according to court papers.
Conservative MPs Bob Blackman, Matthew Offord, Sir David Amess and Theresa Villiers, as well as Labour’s Roger Godsiff were part of a 35-strong British delegation at a Free Iran Rally in Paris in June 2018 – where the bomb was meant to explode.
Other guests included US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and leading US politician Newt Gingrich.
The prime target of the plot was Maryam Rajavi, head of an exiled Iranian opposition group.
The bomb was found in the car of a couple who were arrested in the Belgian capital Brussels.
Assadi, a member of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is on trial in Belgium alongside Amir Saadouni, 40, Amir’s wife Nasimeh Naami, 36, and a fourth man.
He is one of the first diplomats to be charged with terror offences.
The type of explosive found was the same as those used in the November 2015 Paris attacks in which 130 were killed, and the Manchester Arena bombing in which Salman Abedi killed 23 people.
According to court documents, Assadi operated on the orders of Iran’s authorities and smuggled the explosives into Europe on the commercial flight.
He allegedly handed the bomb to Saadouni and Naami during a meeting in a Pizza Hut restaurant in Luxembourg two days before they were arrested.
Former Environment Secretary Ms Villiers told The Sun: “Sending a bomb to Europe in a diplomatic bag on a commercial flight is an outrage.
“If the court decides that is what happened it will be shocking. I feel I’ve had a lucky escape.”
While Executive Secretary of the 1922 Committee, Mr Blackman said if the plot had succeeded the US would “undeniably have declared war on Iran”, starting World War 3.
He continued: “No normal state uses a diplomat roaming Europe with a bomb.
“Iran’s embassies have been part of its terror operations for decades.
“But the UK and EU have adopted a far too conciliatory tone with Iran in recent years.
“After three decades of soft approach, it is time to hold the Iranian regime accountable.”