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What Lessons Can Belgium Learn That France Never Did?


Iran-Belgium treaty to swap prisoners has caused global outrage, as it can lead to the release of Tehran’s incarcerated diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi.

Assadi was apprehended in 2018 along with three accomplices who unsuccessfully plotted to bomb the Iranian opposition’s rally in France.

If and when the treaty is adopted, it would facilitate the repatriation of Assadi, in exchange for Belgian nationals held hostage by Tehran.

While Brussels tries to cloak this ill-advised treaty with Tehran by invoking humanitarian concerns, it seems that this agreement has some economic interests for not just Belgium but also other countries, particularly France.

“This treaty seems to result in releasing one or several dual-nationals and French hostages in Iran. But beyond this deal, the Europeans are trying to facilitate profiting from Iran’s oil and gas,” Radio France International (RFI) Persian-language website wrote on July 1.

Politico also highlighted this fact, underlining that this treaty “comes as European leaders are panicking over energy prices and are increasingly eager to repair relations with Iran in the hope that the Islamic Republic can resume its role as a major supplier of oil and gas.”

Sacrificing human rights and other democratic values that Europe has long cherished could set a dangerous precedent, but is this the first time?

Since 1980, France has become the roaming ground for the regime’s terrorists. In 1982, the Lebanese terrorist Anis al-Naqqash was caught red-handed trying to assassinate the last Prime Minister of the Shah. In 1982, Tehran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon abducted 106 foreign nationals, including 16 French citizens, called the “Lebanon hostage crisis” that lasted for years. This crisis occurred shortly after terrorist attacks by Tehran’s proxies in Beirut killed 241 Americans and 58 Frenchmen.

Between 1985 and 1986, two terrorists, Fouad Ali Saleh and Lofti Ben Khala, and their group conducted several terrorist attacks in France, killing 14 and injuring hundreds. Both terrorists were arrested in 1986 and admitted they had been in close contact with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

To secure the release of its hostages, Paris chose appeasement over firmness and entered into negotiations with Tehran. It accepted the Iranian regime’s demands to mount pressure on the Iranian opposition in France But that did not prevent Tehran from wreaking havoc in France.

In 1987, evidence confirmed the role of Iran’s embassy in France and its so-called translator, Vahid Gordji, in the attacks, prompting judge Gilles Boulougne to issue an arrest warrant for Gordji. Gordji took refuge in the embassy and was put under surveillance.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, the IRGC  arrested a French diplomat and surrounded France’s embassy in the Iranian capital. After months of negotiations, Paris surrendered to Tehran’s extortion and allowed him to leave France.

It was later revealed that Charles Pasqua, who was negotiating with the Iranians over the fate of French hostages, had offered to swap Gordji for the Frenchman.

Clotilde Reiss, a French woman, was arrested during the 2009 protests in Iran. The regime’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged France to swap prisoners. Ahmadinejad’s counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, rejected this offer publicly and said: “There will be no prisoner exchange, and the Iranian president knows it well. It’s blackmail. Do you think I’m a man to exchange the murderer of (ex-Iranian Prime Minister) Chapour Bakhtiar with a young student whose only crime is to speak the Persian language and love its civilization?”

But the time proved Sarkozy wrong. France did swap prisoners, and Chapour Bakhtiar’s assassin was released.

Paris’s feeble approach towards Tehran’s terrorism encouraged the regime to go as far as trying to bomb the Iranian Resistance’s gathering in 2018 in the heart of Paris. The timely action of the European security services prevented the deaths of thousands of people, including renowned dignitaries from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

It seems that Western powers, particularly European governments, have not learned any lessons from the past. Winston Churchill once said, “An appeaser is one feeding a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Europeans should rest assured that the mullahs wouldn’t wait too long to inflict more pain across the green continent while enjoying impunity.