July 3, 2022
Mrs. Eliane Tillieux
President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives
Dear Mrs. Tillieux:
As members of the American law enforcement and national security community, we have dedicated our lives to protecting the free world and fighting terrorism on multiple continents. That continuing commitment compels us to address what we recognize as a stunning mistake in progress: the pending “Treaty Between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.”
Article 3, Paragraph 1 of this pending Treaty affords Belgium and Iran “the widest measure of co-operation in respect of the transfer of sentenced persons in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty.” Paragraph 2 continues, “A person sentenced in the territory of a party may be transferred to the territory of the other Party, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty, in order to serve the remaining period of the sentence imposed on him. To that end, he may express his interest to the Sentencing State or to the Administering State in being transferred under this Treaty.” Paragraph 3 concludes, with
“Transfer may be requested by either the Sentencing State or the Administering State.”
This Treaty will be used by Tehran to immediately have the terrorist cell activated in 2018 to attack the National Council of Resistance to Iran rally in France, and their Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) handler Assadolah Assadi, returned to Iran. This NCRI rally was attended by thousands of participants. Attendees included current and former senior officials from governments throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. The use of deadly triacetone triperoxide (TATP) in the intended explosive device proves the Iranian government was intent on causing extensive damage. It is obvious hundreds of people would have been killed and maimed had the Iranian attack succeeded.
Law enforcement authorities in Belgium, France, and Germany worked closely and efficiently to stop the Assadi terrorist cell. The Belgian judicial system also fulfilled its responsibilities with complete professionalism and achieved all rule-of-law expectations. Among the most critical of these expectations is the accountability of violators. To allow these people to return to the country which issued their orders undoes accountability entirely. These Iranian terrorists will not serve prison sentences, but rather be returned to their official duties.
This pending treaty is totally disrespectful to the law enforcement officers who risked their lives to prevent the 2018 attack. It also frustrates the judicial system’s ability to fulfill its mission to protect the citizens of Europe by denying it the ability to make perpetrators accountable.
From the 1996 Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia, the 2011 plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., the 2018 attempt to bomb the NCRI rally in France, to numerous other hostile acts, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to prove itself the number-one state-exporter of international terrorism. This is not going to change. In 2018, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama found it necessary to expel the Iranian ambassador, who was proved to be an MOIS agent organizing a plot to kill Iranian dissidents living outside Tirana.
This pending Treaty with Iran offers Belgium as a “sanctuary country” for terrorist sleeper cell operations, and a safe haven for Iran to construct its European central command center. If terrorist planning operations are disrupted, those apprehended will be sent back to Iran upon conviction In Belgian courts. If the terrorist cells are successful, then the perpetrators are also eligible for transfer to the country they served.
Once established inside Belgium, these sleeper cell operatives will have much more ease in traveling throughout all countries of the European Union. The law enforcement community will not be able to keep up with all their activity. When Mr. Assadi was captured, in his possession was detailed information concerning over twenty sleeper cells under his control in several European countries. Mr. Assadi is just one of the thousands of MOIS agents. In addition to the MOIS, Iran has the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Quds Force (translated as Jerusalem Force) to conduct terrorist operations around the globe.
As home to the European Union, Brussels is in reality the capital of Europe. As members of law enforcement and military communities, it is inconceivable to us that the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium is even considering offering to host Iran’s terrorist operations headquarters in Europe.
It is with deep concern for European and international security that we urge the Parliament of the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium to defeat the passage of this proposed treaty.
Gen. (Ret.) James Conway
Former Commandant U.S. Marine Corps
Hon. Louis J. Freeh
Former Director FBI
General (Ret.) James L. Jones
Former NATO Commander, USMC Commandant,
National Security Advisor to the President
Hon. Robert Joseph
Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
Colonel (Ret.), U.S. Army Wesley M. Martin
Former Senior Antiterrorism Officer, Coalition Forces – Iraq
Hon. Michael B. Mukasey
Former US Attorney General Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan – Retired Federal Judge
Hon. Robert Torricelli – Former NJ Senator
General (Ret.) Charles (Chuck) Wald – Former Deputy
Commander U.S. European Command