The trial of a suspect charged with hiring gunmen to kill an exiled Iranian in the Netherlands is scheduled to be held sometime in May. The court found two men guilty of the murder and sentenced them to 20 and 25 years, respectively.
The victim, who lived under the assumed name Ali Motamed, is believed to be Mohammad Reza Samadi Kolahi.
Samadi Kolahi reportedly entered the Netherlands under the false identity of Ali Motamed as a refugee in the 1980s, having fled Iran after the June 28, 1981, bombing of the Islamic Republic Party’s headquarters.
The attack left more than 73 dead, including the nascent regime’s chief justice, Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, who was considered the number two man of the newly established Islamic Republic after its founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
After decades of living in exile, Motamed was gunned down in front of his home in the Dutch town of Almere in December 2015.
The Dutch daily Het Parool cited court documents stating the man’s true identity was Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi and that he was “most certainly” the man accused by Iranian authorities of perpetrating the deadliest terrorist attack in the country’s history.
Based on reports by Dutch news outlets, the two sentenced in the case are Moreo M., 36, and Anouar B., 29.
Moreo M. will be jailed for 25 years, more than the sentence that prosecutors demanded, while Anouar B, 29, was sentenced to 20 years. Both convicts are residents of Amsterdam.
According to previous court hearings, the two received 13,000 euros (approximately $14,800) from an unknown source to kill Samadi Kolahi, although they did not know the victim.
An Iranian political activist living in the Netherlands, Morteza Sadeqi, who has closely followed the trial, told Radio Farda that based on Dutch police documents Samadi Kolahi was pointed out to Moreo M. and Anouar B. as a man of Turkic origins.
The Dutch prosecutor general said the two had been commissioned by another notorious Amsterdam criminal, Naoufal F., known as Noffel.
Naoufal's trial is scheduled to begin sometime in May.
During the trial, the prosecutor maintained there was no evidence connecting Iran to the "cold-blooded" murder.
Nevertheless, the Dutch intelligence service said it had obtained circumstantial evidence of Tehran’s involvement in killing Samadi Kolahi.
Moreover, according to the website Dutchnews.nl, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok told MPs in January that the country’s AIVD secret service had reason to believe Iran was involved in Motamed’s murder, as well as that of Iranian opposition leader Ahmad Nissi, who was shot dead in 2017 at The Hague.
“A series of testy diplomatic exchanges followed with Iran, with embassy staff expelled by both nations,” the website reported on March 29. “But the public prosecutors could find ‘no hard evidence’ of any foreign involvement in the Motamed court case.”
Motamed was married to an Afghan woman, and they have a 20-year-old son.
Samadi Kolahi was believed to be a prominent member of the Iranian dissident group Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO). He reportedly joined MKO after the downfall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the establishment of the so-called Islamic Republic in February 1979, initially serving as an agent of the new regime's notorious Komiteh, a squad that terrorized officials affiliated with the previous system.
Later, MKO clandestinely paved the way for Samai Kolahi to infiltrate the ruling Islamic Republic Party, serving first as a manager of sound and audio systems but quickly rising through the party ranks.
On the day of the deadly attack, Samadi Kolahi reportedly carried a bomb hidden in his briefcase into the party’s headquarters in the heart of Tehran, where almost all of the party’s top officials were gathered at the time.
Samadi Kolahi left minutes before the bomb went off, and after hiding for a time in an MKO safe house, fled Iran through its western border with Iraq and made his way to Europe.
He was sentenced to death in absentia by Iran.
The murders of Samadi Kolahi and Nissi led to the Netherlands expelling two Iranian diplomats from the country in June 2018.
"Iran was informed that involvement in such matters is entirely unacceptable and must be stopped immediately ... further sanctions cannot be ruled out," read a separate statement by the group of European countries imposing the sanctions.
In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Netherlands and other European countries of harboring members of the MKO, which was once designated as a terrorist group by the United States.
"Accusing Iran won't absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorists," Zarif wrote in a statement posted on social media.