The Belgium’s Foreign Relations Committee cleared the contentious “Prisoner Swap Treaty” with the Islamic Republic. The draft bill will pave the way for the release of the terrorist, Assadollah Assadi, sentenced to 20 years in prison in Belgium for his thwarted plan of a bombing in France. The Islamic Republic has been vocal about its demands for the release of Assadi, using arbitrarily arrested dual nationals such as Ahmadreza Djalali as a bargaining chip.
The “treaty” was signed in March 2022 and is in the process of being ratified in Belgium. The Belgian Minister of Justice told MEPs that a Belgian’s life is in imminent danger if the treaty does not pass. Vincent Van Quickenborne announced that a Belgian is “illegally” being held in Iran for four months. He did not mention more details about the detainee, however, speculations have led to Olivier Vandecasteele, an aid worker in Iran. His friend told BBC he’s been in isolation for 5 months and his health is deteriorating!
Belgium officials believe passing of the treaty could help returning other dual nationals who are taken as hostage by the Islamic Republic. If passed in the Plenary meeting on July 7, 2022, its Article 13 entails: “either Party may grant pardons, amnesties or reductions in sentences in accordance with its Constitution or other laws.” Meaning, Islamic Republic could choose to do whatever it wants whenever and however it suits its needs.
As of this writing, the theocratic regime’s Judiciary Spokesman announced 2 French nationals have been detained on the charges of “espionage and conspiracy to organize gatherings against the regime.” Masoud Setayeshi admitted the two are in custody of “unknown soldiers of Imam Zaman” and a “special judge” has been assigned to the case. He added, “They were arrested on May 8, 2022 and their case is in investigation phase which is covered by secrecy laws. Their domestic connections are under surveillance and will be dealt with in time.” Setayeshi even mentioned Nouri and Assadi’s name without any provocation: “The case of these two is not comparable with Nouri and Assadi’s,” implying they are at the mercy of “unknown soldiers.”
“Unknown soldiers of Imam Zaman” are part of the IRGC Intelligence Organization who answer to nobody and have full authority to do whatever they like, including torture, murder and interference in sentencing. In May 1983, Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, named the group. One of their first “achievements” was dismantling the “Toudeh Party” a day after Khomeini sent them a message praising their “domestic and international reach!”
The “investigation phase” means they are being tortured, physically and psychologically, pressured to turn against their nation, and so on. A look into Kyle Moore-Gilbert‘s days would give us a clearer picture. The same group who arrested Vancasteele, Djalali, Nahid Taghavi, and many others, are also responsible for the torture of many Iranians in prisons, and killing many while in custody.
Is Islamic Republic a Reliable Partner?
The Islamic Republic has never been a reliable partner for any “treaty or international laws.” The barbaric regime only knows how to achieve its goals through bigotry, extortion and trickery. The nuclear agreement in 2015 and human rights obligations are great examples.
The entire world was behind the JCPOA and had the regime “under surveillance” but Islamic Republic used it to advance its nuclear/missile program by breaching it at any chance they got. Recently, Germany revealed millions of dollars of equipment used in nuclear and ballistic program was bought by the regime, violating the JCPOA.
Amnesty and other human rights organizations have been continuously condemning the regime for violating its obligations under international human rights laws, including forced disappearance, arbitrary arrests of dissidents, torturing prisoners, discriminating against women and minorities, violating children’s rights, killing protesters, censoring internet, and the list goes on. Amnesty issued a statement warning the Belgian Parliament not to promote impunity as Islamic Republic will not stop persecuting its dissidents in EU or other countries and the agents carrying out these missions must be held accountable not returned to their master!
Black Day for Belgium
Darya Safai, Iranian-Belgian MEP, has been vocally against the treaty. She has warned her colleagues in the parliament that Islamic Republic will not back down from its malign behavior and ratifying this treaty will make Belgium and the EU a safe haven for their terrorist activities. The regime will keep taking hostages just in case it needs to swap for its terrorists.
The draft bill is unpopular, not only among opposition in the Belgium Parliament, but also among the majority party, human rights organizations and Iranian dissidents, who held a gathering outside the Parliament on July 5, 2022. They believe Belgium is opening itself to more terrorist activities and blackmail by the Islamic regime. Even US Senate Foreign Relations Committee reacted to the draft bill and criticized it:
At the same time, Islamic Republic media are celebrating the possible ratification, waiting for their “diplomat terrorist”, Assadollah Assadi, to go back home, as if nothing happened and he didn’t plot a terrorist attack on EU soil. The “good news” published on Khamenei and IRGC media must be read as a red flag for any sane individual/politician.
Islamic Republic is not a reliable partner. The Ayatollahs are bullies that only understand forceful actions/reactions. This ratification or any other agreement with the Islamic regime, only emboldens them to commit more atrocities, domestically and internationally. It is time for EU to stand up to the Ayatollahs, not bend over.