According to the official website of the Belgian Parliament, on 1 July 2022, the Belgian government is on the cusp of finalizing a shameful agreement with the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran. Under the pretext of “Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners,” Accordingly, Brussels will return Assadollah Assadi, a career diplomat terrorist, to Tehran.
Assadi was the mastermind of a failed bombing plot against a large Iranian Resistance event in France in 2018, attended by 100,000 people, including hundreds of lawmakers, current and former officials and dignitaries from five continents. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of NCRI was the main target of the foined attack. The Iranian Resistance and Iranian expats strongly condemned this shameful deal, which will only encourage the regime to further increase its terrorist activities in Europe and ratchet up its policy of holding dual national hostages and using them as bargaining chips. Therefore, an urgent manifestation was held close to the Belgian Parliament on 2 July 2022. And a tsunami of international protests and letters flew towards Belgium.
The disgraceful deal between Brussels and Tehran raised an international outrage toward the Belgium government. In a letter to Éliane Tillieux, the President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, John Bercow, the Speaker of the British Parliament until 2019, wrote, “I find it inconceivable that Belgium, considered by many the capital of Europe, and a beacon of democracy and human rights, would even entertain entering into such a treaty with a regime universally recognized as the world’s leading human rights abuser and the most active state sponsor of terror. Here, we are not talking about a trustworthy actor with whom we should sign treaties of the kind customarily tabled before the Parliament. Rather, we are talking about a rogue state whose egregious abuse of human rights is reviled around the world.”
Ingrid Betancourt, former Presidential candidate in Columbia also expressed outrage. She wrote, “The idea that Assadi and his accomplices would serve the rest of their sentence in an Iranian prison is not realistic. The Iranian regime has put all its diplomatic pressure to avoid these agents from facing Belgian Justice. It will never imprison the very agents it had sent to carry out the terrorist bombing in Paris. According to the documents during the four-year trial, this plot was planned and ordered at the highest level of the Iranian regime and its Intelligence Ministry, for which reason, the EU, including Belgium, sanctioned several of the Ministry’s senior officials. Moreover, the treaty has a provision granting grace and amnesty (art 13) to the sentenced prisoners, revealing the real intention of this piece of legislation.”
In letters of condemnation US members of Congress, senior former US officials, international legal experts, and thousands of Iranians have condemned the move and asked Belgium to call it off. The Belgian government has responded evasively to sharp protests against this treaty by saying the bill is not intended for a specific person. Yet the government did not deny it could end in repatriating the convicted former diplomat to Iran where he will most probably go free.
While demonstrations were ongoing in Belgium and other countries, the foreign relations committee of the Belgian parliament spiraled into turmoil as many representatives questioned the government and echoed the voices of the thousands of Iranians and political dignitaries who had communicated their concern and outrage to them.
While thousands of Iranians, politicians, lawmakers and other dignitaries from around the world have expressed outrage at this shameful submission to the Iranian regime’s blackmailing tactics, the proponents of the deal, Belgian officials of the Vivaldi government coalition, argue that if the agreement is not ratified by the parliament, the lives of Belgian hostages are at stake. Meanwhile, other European states, who also have their nationals held hostage in Iran, have remained eerily silent on the deal, implicitly giving their consent to the deal, and hoping that the treaty will set a precedent for them too to negotiate the release of their hostages.
At the same time, Iranian Resistance supporters in the U.S. have raised awareness on the issue with members of the U.S. Congress. On Wednesday, 13 members of the U.S. Congress wrote to the Belgian prime minister, urging him “to lead the Belgian Parliament in rejecting any deal between your government and the Islamic Republic of Iran that would return the terrorist, Assadollah Assadi—or any other convicted Iranian terrorist, for that matter—to the homeland.”
“We applaud the heroism and ingenuity of the Belgian government, first, in preventing a heinous tragedy, and subsequently, in holding to account the reprehensible perpetrators of this dastardly plot executed under the cover of diplomatic immunity—as a testament to the rule of law and a commitment to ridding the world of the scourge of terrorism,” the lawmakers wrote. “Therefore, we implore you to uphold these precious principles and reject any cynical ploy by Iran’s current ‘diplomats’ to trade terrorists for dubiously detained Belgians.”
What we’re seeing is just a glimpse of the tireless efforts by the Iranian Resistance and all its members to protect the rights of the Iranian people. There is no doubt that with the help of freedom-loving people who stand by the side of the Iranian Resistance, the people of Iran will eventually prevail in their struggle against the evil regime of the mullahs.
Maryam Rajavi’s message to Iranians’ demonstration in Brussels against the clerical regime’s shameful deal with Belgium, she calls dealing with the regime over hostages is one step forward, 100 steps back, and every European and American citizen in Iran is also a potential hostage.
MPs from Various parties joined Iranian demonstration to express their solidarity with the Iranians and their opposition to the treaty that endangers the lives of every Iranian dissident, and European nationals.
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).
On Friday, 22 July 2022, the Brussels Court of Appeal banned the Belgian government from transferring the Iranian regime’s diplomat terrorist Assadollah Assadi to Iran. The treaty was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 41 against, and 11 abstentions. The voting process lasted until midnight Wednesday, with Belgian opposition MPs strongly opposing the treaty.
The court order, according to the Belga news agency, stipulated that “it is provisionally forbidden to the state of Belgium, under penalty of 500,000 euros, to attempt by any means to transfer Mr. Assadollah”. At midnight of Wednesday, July 29, 2022, after the Belgium parliament ratified the shameful bill that encourages terrorism and hostage-taking, several plaintiffs immediately filed their urgent complaint to the court.
The plaintiffs included Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; Seyed Ahmed Ghazali, former Algerian Prime Minister; Giulio Terzi, former Italian Foreign Minister; Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian Senator; Linda Chavez, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity; Robert Torricelli, former Senator from New Jersey; Tahar Boumedra, Director of JVMI and former Chief of the Human Rights Office of United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI); Dr. Sanabargh Zahedi, chair of the Judicial Committee of the NCRI; Mohammad Mohaddessin, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of NCRI; Farzin Hashemi, and Javad Dabiran, from the Foreign Affairs Committee of NCRI.
The Belgium media reported that “A lawyer acting for an exiled Iranian opposition group said the Brussels appeal court had ordered that the Belgian government not hand over Assadollah Assadi to Iran without allowing the decision to be legally challenged and confirmed by a judge. Georges-Henri Beauthier, a lawyer acting for the exiled opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said the court had granted an order that the government’s case for any proposed release of Assadi be subject to “cross-examination before a judge.” “Before this hearing, the Belgian state cannot proceed to a prisoner transfer,” he said.