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International Outrage Over Potential Release of Iran’s Terrorist

File photo: Iranian Resistance Supporters in the Large Demonstration in Brussels

Last month, authorities in Albania executed search warrants at more than a dozen properties and interrogated around 20 individuals who were suspected of spying for the Iranian regime. According to Albanian media, the operation was undertaken to prevent “any possible terrorist attack,” suggesting that the government had intelligence pointing to plans of attack by an Iranian cell within the country.

The incident recalls attention to revelations that were made four years earlier regarding concrete plans for multiple Iranian terror attacks targeting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran. In March 2018, Albanian authorities thwarted plans to deploy a truck bomb at the MEK compound in Albania. Then, in June 2018, several European law enforcement agencies coordinated to disrupt the Iranian regime’s plan to detonate a powerful explosive at an NCRI gathering near Paris.

Both of these plots involved the weaponization of Iran’s diplomatic infrastructure. Three diplomats were ultimately ejected from Albania in connection with the March conspiracy, and on July 1, 2018, the third counselor at Iran’s embassy in Vienna was arrested while traveling in Germany, from whence he was later extradited to Belgium to face charges for plotting to commit terrorist murder. That diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, was determined to be the mastermind of the bomb plot targeting NCRI’s President-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. Following an extensive investigation, he was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in a Belgian prison in February 2021.

Assadi’s trial had made it clear that orders for the bomb plot had come from senior officials, including the president and the supreme leader.

Nevertheless, the implementation of Assadi’s sentence was seen as a step in the right direction, conveying the message that at least the regime’s agents in foreign countries would not be granted impunity in matters related to terrorism and the violation of human rights.

But at the end of June, Belgian officials presented Parliament with a draft treaty that had reportedly been negotiated with the Iranian regime in March. The Parliament approved that treaty last month, and once implemented, the agreement would set the stage for Assadollah Assadi to be released after serving only four years of his 20-year sentence.

Numerous international politicians and dignitaries have rightly decried the agreement for Assadi’s release as the latest of many examples of “appeasement” and emphasized that the treaty would result in a sense of impunity and would pose a threat not only to the Iranians living in Europe but also to Western nationals and Western interests throughout the world.
The following report is the excerpts of some of the speeches addressing the Free Iran 2022:

Franco Fratini: Former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security (2004–2008)


Unfortunately, after an Iranian serving from the secret services has been condemned for an act of terrorism and plotting a terrorist attack in Paris, he has been legal, according to European and international procedures, in prison. Unfortunately, the Iranians have been starting a secret negotiation with the Kingdom of Belgium. The terrorist crime of 2018, was legally condemned. And this international and this bilateral agreement aimed at allowing an exchange, a bilateral exchange between such a terrorist who is in Belgium in prison and two completely innocent people that have been captured in Iran and are detainees.

One was condemned to death, and the other was a simple French tourist. What is the objective? It is to create a legal instrument that allows exchanging the terrorists in Belgium prison with two foreign prisoners that are unfortunately in the horrible prisons in Iran to accommodate this bilateral situation and this bilateral relationship.

Janez Jansa: Former prime minister of Slovenia. (2020–2022)


We are strongly against the latest instance of appeasement by Belgium. The so-called shameful treaty signed with the Iranian regime is allowing it to free the regime’s convicted diplomat-terrorist, Assadollah Assadi. This Belgian proposal will only embolden and encourage Tehran’s agents to conduct more acts of terrorism and violence both against the Iranian people and the international community, including in European capitals.

Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Canada

This is not some fanciful conspiracy theory. An Iranian diplomat was convicted to 20 years in prison in Belgium for his role in that plot. Now, as we know, the Belgian government has agreed to a treaty to release that terrorist it’s motivated to save the lives of innocent foreigners held hostage by the Islamic Republic. But the motivation for this agreement does not change the nature of its action. It constitutes frightening appeasement of Iran’s international terrorist activity and validation of its strategy of hostage diplomacy.

This agreement is quite literally a deal with the devil. And we add our voices to all those everywhere in the world calling on the Belgian government to end this agreement.

John Bercow: Former Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom


Opposition to appeasement of the best deal Iranian regime, and I may say opposition to the Belgian treaty. An issue that has reared its ugly head of mate and is a source of real concern to you and me alike. Whatever the intention of the Belgian signatories to that treaty, the effect threatens to be a green light to terrorists and thereby a mortal threat to human life. You cannot compromise with and seek to accommodate the preferences of dictators. It doesn’t work.

Newt Gingrich, former US speaker of House


I do want to take a minute and say that I think it’s profoundly wrong for the country of Belgium to sell out the cause of freedom and to sell out the opportunity to continue to isolate the Iranian dictatorship. And I think that it’s very short-sighted. And in the long run, the decision will come back to hurt Belgium. I wish that they would withdraw from the treaty they’ve agreed to.

I wish that their Parliament would reject this kind of appeasement because I do think the more firm we are, the better off we are.

Tom Ridge, former US Secretary of Homeland Security

We reject appeasement, the last instance of which was a shameful so-called treaty proposed by Belgium with the Iranian regime. This Belgian proposal will allow the regime’s terrorists who targeted this very gathering in 2018 to escape justice.

Giulio Terzi, former Italian Foreign Minister


The entire international community and European Parliament are appalled by the decision undertaken by the Belgian government to negotiate a treaty with the Iranian regime in order to exchange innocent hostages seized by the regime with convicted terrorists. If that horrible mistake were to ever be committed, it would seriously disrupt European security. It would compromise state capabilities to prevent and fight international terrorists.

The Iranian regime’s terrorist organizations, such as the Ministry of Intelligence and others, will further consider Belgium and EU countries as safe havens where they can continue building their international criminal networks. Furthermore, at the global level, that shameful treaty would disrupt international justice because any convicted criminal belonging to a rogue state could from now on feel confident that his authorities will sooner or later rescue him by kidnapping citizens of the state where the trial did take place in order to exchange them.

As citizens of the stronghold of freedom, democracy, and human rights, which is the European Union, we cannot ignore that in the end, it will be the Iranian people that would suffer even more if very wrong appeasement with this terrorist state will be practiced. The regime’s victims, their families, and the millions of Iranians that strenuously oppose and resist the violence of the regime do not deserve to see an EU member state take such a wrong and dangerous approach.

Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA)


Although he is serving 20 years imprisonment for plotting to commit mass murder, the Belgian government recently provided initial approval for a prisoner-swap treaty with Iran that would send him back to the very country where he will continue plotting global terrorist attacks.

The bipartisan members of Congress who co-sponsored H. Res. 118 unequivocally condemn “past and present Iranian state-sponsored terrorist attacks against United States citizens and officials, as well as Iranian dissidents, including the Iranian regime’s terror plot against the ‘Free Iran 2018–the Alternative gathering in Paris’.” We also call, “on relevant United States Government agencies to work with European allies, including those in the Balkans where Iran has expanded its presence, to hold Iran accountable for breaching diplomatic privileges, and to call on nations to prevent the malign activities of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic missions.”

H. Res.118 marks the overwhelming congressional sentiment that Iranian rulers must be held accountable for such reprehensible behavior. This deal between Belgium and Iran is of grave concern, which is why my fellow colleagues and I wrote to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, urging him and the members of the Belgian Parliament to reject this dangerous treaty.

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA)


When my colleague, Congressman Tom McClintock, and I joined in introducing House Resolution 118, it was to highlight the then-recent arrest of Iranian terrorists. Calls himself a diplomat.

Assadi in Belgium. As you know, Assadi conspired to commit murder. Commit the murder of thousands of people if they fully achieve their purposes as part of a plot to bomb the Free Iran gathering in Paris, which was in 2018. Shockingly, the government of Belgium today is currently considering an outrageous deal that would allow the transfer of this terrorist, who posed as a diplomat, back to the Iranian regime in a quid pro quo in exchange for those that the regime has kidnapped in order to achieve its leverage. The release of Assadi would be an outrage.

Should this occur, it would simply encourage the Iranian regime to continue its terrorist behavior and send a message that state sponsors of terror can attempt or commit these acts and be rewarded with prisoner exchanges. Should and all they have to do is kidnap some innocent civilians. That’s why I wrote a letter to the Belgian Prime Minister urging him to ensure that Assadi serves his full term in Belgium and is not transferred to the very regime which ordered him to commit terrorism.
I will continue to stand with you until the Iranian people can fill their desire for a free and democratic Iran.

MP David Jones, former Brexit minister


Today we are gathered to support the popular struggle for a free and democratic Iran.
And also to mark two important recent court decisions in Europe which prove that it is possible to hold the Tehran regime to account and end its policy of impunity.

The first case in Belgium resulted in the sentence of an accredited Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi to 20 years in prison for terrorism offenses. And the second case was the recent conviction of an Iranian citizen Hamid Noori by the Stockholm District Court in Sweden for involvement in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran under Sweden’s law of universal jurisdiction. That conviction resulted in a sentence of life imprisonment.

However, given their willingness to prosecute terrorist criminals to conviction, it’s troubling that some of our European allies such as Belgium, appear to be contemplating enacting new legislation that would result in convicted criminals being sent back to Iran to serve their sentences.

There can be little doubt that Tehran would immediately release prisoners if they were to be returned on such terms, and therefore I think that the proposal is a bad one, and I do hope that our Belgian friends will reconsider it.

Because the point is that bullies should be confronted with firmness. They shouldn’t be appeased, and the United Kingdom and its European allies should take the lead to establish an accountability process through the international courts and through the UN Security Council to hold Tehran to account.

They should be seeking the prosecution of those regime officials who are responsible for outrageous such as the policy of hostage-taking. And such as notoriously the historical and current human rights violations that amount to crimes against humanity, and I have in mind, particularly the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and the roles of Ebrahim Raisi, the current president and the supreme leader, Khamenei should also be subjected to judicial scrutiny.