Belgian parliament passes deal with Iran that could lead to release of convicted terrorist

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Belgian Parliament has ratified a treaty with Iran that paves the way for a prisoner exchange that could see a convicted Iranian terrorist go free.

“The Iranian Resistance strongly condemns the approval of the shameful deal with the clerical regime and considers this the highest incentive for the religious fascism ruling Iran to increase terrorism and make the most of hostage taking,” said President Mariam Rajavi. the election of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the statement said after the vote.

The announcement came after 79 of the 131 Belgian MPs present voted in favor of the treaty, which was approved by the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs on July 6, paving the way for a deal that could lead to the release of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian sentenced to 20 years. -years in prison in Belgian courts for a bomb plot to rally opponents Iranian regime in France.

The deal will also pave the way for the release of Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecastile, who has been in Iran since February.

VOTE FOR TREATY IN BELGIUM MAY RELEASE IRANIAN TERRORIST

People gesticulate and wave former Iranian flags as they protest outside the Antwerp Criminal Court during the trial of four individuals, including an Iranian diplomat and a Belgian-Iranian couple in Antwerp.

People gesticulate and wave former Iranian flags as they protest outside the Antwerp Criminal Court during the trial of four individuals, including an Iranian diplomat and a Belgian-Iranian couple in Antwerp.
(Photo by DIRK WAEM/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

But some parts of the treaty that allow Belgians convicted in Iran to serve their sentences in Belgium and Iranians convicted in Belgium to serve their sentences in Iran have been more contentious, most notably the provision allowing each country to grant amnesty to its citizens. prisoners. Assadi, former Iranian diplomatit is expected to be released promptly.

Rajavi believes the deal “encourages further terrorism and hostage taking” by Iran, saying the NCRI “will continue to explore all political and legal options and options to prevent the terrorist diplomat from being extradited to Iran.”

“Any relocation of criminals responsible for terrorism and human rights violations, without serving the legally prescribed punishment, is an encouragement and an offer of ransom for terrorism and human rights violations, as well as in violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions,” Rajavi said.

Critics of the treaty were not convinced by Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo, who argued that it was vital to bring home an innocent Belgian citizen.

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“What will you tell his family that we will leave him to rot in a cell?” De Croo said last week. “Belgium does not abandon its citizens.”

The agreement was also welcomed by the Vandecastile family, who called it the “right decision” despite the potential release. convicted terrorist.

“A deal with a terrorist is never fair, but it’s also unfair to keep an innocent person in jail,” family spokesman Olivier Van Steyrtegem said, according to Politico.

But François de Smet, who leads the Belgian opposition party Défi, warned that the treaty “would have dire consequences for the reputation of our country and the security of our citizens.”

“Belgium is sending the signal that its justice is for sale,” he tweeted.