The Belgian Parliament convened for its final session on Wednesday prior to their summer vacation to finalize the vote on a controversial agreement signed with the Iranian regime that can see the release of Tehran’s convicted diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi.
Even with the adoption of this bill, there is a one-month period before it becomes bind. This provides a time period for legal and political measures to prevent the transfer of Iranian regime’s terrorists to Iran, especially Assadollah Assadi and his accomplices, and others who may in the future resort to terrorism and human rights violations on Belgian soil.
One of the most important methods is through the Constitutional Court of Belgium that Brussels should expect measures from various organizations, including the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
Belgian MP Darya Safai, in interview with Iran International-Persian on Wednesday, said the Belgian government has been pressuring members of its ruling coalition to go against their viewpoints and vote in favor of the government’s prisoner exchange bill with Iran’s regime. In fact, approving this bill, being an agreement with the devil, is even more dangerous for Belgium’s national interest, Safai added. They may be able to have one Belgian citizen released, Safai explained, while endangering the lives of many more European citizens and Tehran’s terrorism will become far more active on European soil.
Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in chief of Kayhan daily, the mouthpiece of Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, raised new threats on Wednesday. “If Iranian citizens don’t enjoy security in European cities, why should European citizens enjoy security in Iran?” he wrote.
It is worth noting that millions of Iranian expatriates live in security in Europe as we speak. Shariatmadari and other regime officials are only concerned about the terrorists, agents, and operatives dispatched by Tehran who have been arrested and convicted for their terrorist acts and other illegal measures on the Green Continent.
On the other hand, any foreign tourists and Iranian dual nationals are always at a risk of being arrested in Iran by the regime. They are considered prey for the mullahs and especially the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
There are currently at least 19 hostages held by the regime in Iran and the number could quite naturally be far higher.
Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne was questioned on Tuesday by opposition MPs during which he said the Belgian government prepared this prisoner exchange bill to the Parliament based on their consultations with the Belgian State Security Service and they believe such a bill would prevent future hostage-takings by the mullahs’ regime in Iran.
Opposition MPs, however, asked why aren’t Belgian State Security Service officials present in the Parliament for questioning and what guarantees exist that such a bill would prevent future hostage-takings by Tehran?
The Service has informed the MPs that there are around 200 Belgian citizens in Iran, adding that even members of Belgium’s diplomatic mission in the country are not safe from the threat of being taken hostage. What Brussels refuses to acknowledge is the fact that appeasing Iran’s terrorist regime will only embolden Tehran to increase their support for terrorism and hostage-taking.
Iranian regime Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said on Wednesday that Tehran’s deal with Brussels has nothing to do with Assadollah Assadi, repeating similar remarks made previously by the Belgian Justice Minister. Despite these claims, it is only natural that the approval of the Belgian government’s bill will lead to Assadi’s release to Iran.
“We reiterate our demand of the Belgian government once again that it must immediately release this Iranian diplomat. He must be cleared of all charges. They must compensate him for his troubles,” Kanani added during his Wednesday press briefing.
Following Shariatmadari’s threats, some analysts believe that the Iranian regime has practically already launched a new round of hostage-takings. During the past few years, we have seen a significant number of European nationals being arrested and sentenced to jail in Iran. In the past few months alone, a Belgian medical aid and a Dutch citizen have been arrested and convicted in Iran. Many details of why they were arrested and handed such sentences remain unclear.
These indicate that Tehran’s hostage-taking policy has intensified, especially following the court cases of Assadi in Brussels and former Iranian regime official Hamid Noury in Stockholm. Noury has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the summer 1988 prison massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, consisting mostly of PMOI/MEK members and supporters.
The process through which this bill was approved was anything but simple for the Belgian government. From the very first hours, the vast network of PMOI/MEK supporters across Europe and the U.S. launched rallies outside Belgian embassies and consulates to protest the deal. The Iranian Resistance, led by the PMOI/MEK, launched a campaign to inform political, legal, and scientific dignitaries across the globe about the Brussels-Tehran plot. Protest letters have poured into Brussels from 24 countries, including messages from Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to dozens of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, European dignitaries and Members of the European Parliament, MPs, Nobel Laureates, and religious and legal figures.
These widespread protests resulted in a major wave of opposition from the Belgian political apparatus. Belgian political figures took part in demonstrations and rallies held by freedom-loving Iranians and PMOI/MEK supporters outside the Belgian Parliament. Belgian MP Michael Freilich specifically said “We cannot do this alone” and prevent the adoption of this bill, and this is exactly why we need your support and campaign.
This immense political pressure resulted in the July 5 session of the Belgian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, which the government sought to wrap in less than 30 minutes, continue for over four hours and be postponed to the next day, being Wednesday, July 6. Members of the Belgian opposition, joined by a significant number of members of MPs from the ruling coalition parties, described the government’s bill as incomprehensible, illogical, and even dangerous.
Thanks to the intense initial campaign and the numerous measures that went into the initiative, a long slate of evidence and documents have been placed forward, coupled with the many protests, about the catastrophic results of returning Assadi, the Iranian regime’s convicted diplomat-terrorist, to Iran, both for the Iranian people and Belgium.
Accordingly, the Foreign Relations Committee declared they would need more than 24 hours to evaluate all the texts and discussions brought forward, and to deliver a final document to the Belgian Parliament. Thus, the parliamentary session was postponed to Thursday, July 14.
Assadi was convicted for masterminding a bomb-plot targeting a 2018 rally in support of Iranian opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), near Paris, attended by thousands of people and hundreds of political dignitaries from across the globe. Fortunately, the attack was foiled by European law enforcement authorities, leading to the arrest and conviction of Assad and his three accomplices. Assadi’s release would be a new low in the history of appeasement vis-à-vis dictatorships by western governments.