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Belgium government 'gives green light' to Iranian terrorism




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The Belgian parliament will vote on a government bill regarding the "transfer of Sentenced prisoners" between Belgium and the Iranian regime. The bill is different from the "extradition of criminals" contract and is specific to criminals who have been found guilty in Belgium or Iran, writes Hamid Bahrami.

The bill contains 22 articles. The fifth paragraph of the article one interprets the "convict" as a person who has been sentenced by a court order and is spending the conviction. According to the third article, the convicted person can request to spend his conviction in his own country.

We need to know why the Iranian regime is interested in entering such a treaty with a western democracy. Assadollah Assadi, a member of the Iranian embassy in Vienna, was given a 20-year jail term by the court in Antwerp in Belgium for organising a plot to bomb a big French rally held by an exiled opposition group in 2018. The event was attended by thousands of Iranians living in Europe and international political figures including European MPs.

It was the first time an Iranian official had faced such charges in the EU since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Three others were also convicted. They were arrested during a joint operation by German, French and Belgian police.

At the time of arresting Assadi, the French Government said that the plot was planned by the Iranian intelligence (MOIS). During Assadi's trial, the Iranian regime lobbied the European governments to disregard all charges but its attempts failed.

Thus, Tehran decided to release its sentenced agents through a hostage-taking policy. However, there is no Belgium citizen or dual-national hostage in Iran. Brussels seems to represent other European governments whose citizens are jailed in Iran. However, Iran International, a London-based broadcaster, claimed that two Belgian citizens are currently in prison in Iran.

Imprisoning western nationals in the hope of getting ransom has become a lucrative business for the Iranian mullahs. It also provides them with the opportunity to enter prisoner exchange treaties as Tehran has jailed a dozen French, Swedish, British, American, German and Austrian nationals.


Historically, the theocracy has pursued a policy of assassinating dissidents in Europe. Since the 1979 revolution, there are at least ten known Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks. In 1997, a German court issued an international arrest warrant for the Iranian intelligence minister for the assassination of the Secretary-General of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran in Mykonos Greek restaurant in Berlin in 1992.

Kazem Rajavi, a member of a dissident group known as MEK, was gunned down by the MOIS agents on April 24, 1990, as he was driving to his home in Coppet, a village near Geneva. Two of the hitmen were later discovered in France and arrested by French police. But despite a warrant for their arrest by the Swiss authorities, the French government put them on a direct flight to Tehran "for national reasons". The decision to allow Tehran's terrorist agents to escape prosecution drew international condemnation, including from the United States.

Ali Vakili Rad, who was jailed for life in 1994 for the assassination of Shahpour Bakhtiar, the last Prime Minister before 1979, was released two days after the liberation of Clotilde Reiss, a French teaching assistant accused of spying by the Iranian courts.

Indeed, the bill undermines all efforts to stop the Iranian hostage-taking policy and state terrorism. The MOIS misuses Iran's embassies in the EU countries as a centre for planning, organising and carrying out its terrorist operations, as proven by the conviction of Assadi.

As the EU leaders are using every diplomatic and political resource to revive the nuclear deal in order to safeguard their economic interests, energy supply and jailed citizens, such bills allow Tehran to escape justice and give the green light to the Iranian regime to expand its terrorism across the EU. If the Belgium parliament pass the bill and eventually the government releases Assadi, the Western citizens should expect more fatal terrorist operation in the near future.

Hamid Bahrami is an independent Middle East analyst tweeting at @Habahrami.

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