An Iranian diplomat has been convicted of masterminding an attempted bomb attack in Paris in 2018. Assadollah Assadi, 49, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Belgian court for attempted terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist group. The verdict marks the first time an Iranian official has faced such charges in the EU since the 1979 revolution.

Assadi, who worked at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, contested all the charges against him. He has claimed diplomatic status and did not attend today’s hearing. Assadi’s lawyer, Dimitri De Beco, said he was likely to appeal.

The target of the foiled bomb plot was a large French rally held by the exiled National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in June 2018. The NCRI is considered to be the political arm of Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), a dissident group that backs the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.