France bomb plot: Iranian agent failed lie-detector test

Explosives experts are set to give evidence this week in appeal by three jailed over plot to attack anti-Tehran rally near Paris

A bomb disposal expert is seen searching a car in the Brussels' commune of Woluwe St Pierre, June 30, 2018. RTL Television. TV Picture taken June 30, 2018.  Reuters TV via REUTERS  TV.  NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. BELGIUM OUT. BELGIUM OUT.

An Iranian agent appealing against her conviction for plotting to bomb an anti-Tehran rally in France failed a lie-detector test when questioned about the device that was to be planted at the venue, according to Belgian police documents.

Nasimeh Naami is appealing against her conviction and 18-year sentence for the attempted attack on a rally organised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, that was attended by about 25,000 people on the outskirts of Paris in June 2018.

Naami, 37, and her husband Amir Saadouni, 41, were arrested as they carried the hidden device from their home in Antwerp to the exhibition centre where it was set to be left. The plot unravelled after a tip-off and the would-be bombers were under surveillance, along with an Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, who masterminded the operation.

Her legal team will argue on Thursday that the device was not a bomb and did not have the power to kill anyone. It was found inside a make-up bag owned by Naami after Assadi handed it to the pair during a meeting at a pizza restaurant in Luxembourg two days before the planned attack.

Naami claimed at her trial that she did not know that the device was a bomb. But she failed a lie-detector test in September 2019 when she was asked whether she was “aware that the package was a bomb”.

The question was asked three times, among eight other questions. The test only raised an alarm when the bomb question was asked, according to a document seen by The National.

Johan Platteau, her lawyer, said the test was unreliable. “That has no importance,” he said. “The thing is Belgian police and prosecutors say it’s a bomb — and I’m convinced it’s not a bomb.

“It’s something that makes a noise but is not dangerous at all.”

Naami has said that she believed it contained only fireworks.

The document emerged as expert witnesses are scheduled to give evidence this week about the nature of the explosives at the appeal in Antwerp, Belgium.

Naami is appealing along with Saadouni, who received 15 years imprisonment, and a third agent Mehrdad Arefani, 58, who received 17 years. He was described as the eyes and ears of Assadi on the ground in France.

Assadi, who has claimed he is the victim of a politically-motivated trial, is the only one of the four original defendants who is not appealing. He was given the longest sentence of 20 years.

Updated: December 7th 2021, 2:08 PM