File photo: Iranians, supporters of the MEK rally in front of the Belgian parliament
After many flip-flops, the Belgian parliament approved a disgraceful treaty with Iran’s ruling theocracy to swap prisoners. Cloaked under benign human rights values, this treaty paves the way for the release of the regime’s diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi, who masterminded a foiled plot to bomb the Iranian Resistance “Free Iran World Summit” in 2018 in Paris.
The treaty, initially and secretly signed in March 2022 with the Iranian regime, was adopted on July 20, with 79 votes in favor, 41 against, and 11 abstentions. The voting process lasted until midnight Wednesday, with Belgian opposition MPs strongly opposing this treaty. Many called the votes in favor of this disgraceful deal with Tehran “votes of shame” and part of Europe’s failed appeasement policy.
Since the Belgian government’s intention to approve this deal at any cost became evident, the Iranian Resistance started an international mobilization. As a result, hundreds of letters of condemnation by renowned politicians and lawmakers from both sides of the Atlantic were sent to Belgian authorities. Many of the writers of these letters participated in the National Council of Resistance (NCRI) “Free Iran” rally in 2018 in France and were potential victims of Assadi’s foiled plot. In addition, freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the NCRI’s main constituent group, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), held sit-ins in different countries, including Belgium, calling for a firm policy toward the Iranian regime.
Many Belgian MPs strongly opposed this disgraceful deal and called for its immediate revocation. MP Theo Francken, who is also the former Belgian State Secretary for Migration, voiced his protest against the Iran-Belgium treaty.
“It is the duty of the MPs to serve the public interest. The general interest of all compatriots, including that of the tens of thousands of Iranian dissidents in Belgium and the EU who are now even more afraid of being eliminated by the regime,” he wrote on his blog on July 18.
The disgraceful Iran-Belgium treaty is a spectacular failure, strategically and morally. It is not only undermining the global fight against terrorism but also serves as a green light to the godfather of terrorism in Tehran to wreak havoc in Europe.
On July 19, before the Belgian parliament’s vote, the Kayhan daily, whose editorial guidelines are directed by the Iranian regime Supreme Leader, used the case of Hamid Noury to publicly threaten the EU with more hostage-taking. Noury was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday due to his role in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.
“When Iranian citizens are not safe in European countries, why should the citizens of those countries enjoy full security in Iran? Our officials should punish the Swedish government and make it regretful and show the governments of Germany, France, and Belgium that the trial, indictment, and detention of innocent Iranian nationals will entail high costs for them,” the editorial reads in part.
History seems to repeat itself, but the Belgium government is turning a blind eye to it. When Nazi Germany invaded the non-militarized Rhineland in absolute defiance of the Versailles Treaty, British leaders sent a plaintive letter to Hitler asking which treaties he would be willing to respect. They never received an answer but instead received bombs.
As the Iranian Resistance declared today, “Any relocation of criminals that are responsible for terrorism and human rights violations, without serving legally mandated punishment, is to encourage and offer a ransom for terrorism and human rights violations and a breach of international laws and UN Security Council resolutions.”
The Belgium government should note that this is not just a legal and moral obligation to prevent Assadi’s release. Doing so gives Tehran’s terrorist regime a license to kill, leaving the lives of millions at stake.
As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s president-elect said: “The advocates of appeasement and back-door deals seek to turn the hostage-taking of Belgian citizens in Iran into a tactic against victims of terrorism and seek to appease the executioner with the victims’ blood. Pinning hope on the release of a Belgian hostage in Iran is one step forward and 100 steps back because, in the future, no one will be safe. Every European and American citizen in Iran is also a potential hostage.”