Belgium’s decision to release Iranian diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi in a prisoner exchange has sparked criticism from experts who see it as a sign of weakness in the EU and Belgian government.
Brussels, Belgium – In a move that has drawn sharp criticism from both national and international observers, the Belgian government today released Iranian diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi in a prisoner swap. Assadi, who was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a foiled bomb plot targeting an Iranian opposition rally in France, has been at the center of a contentious and high-profile case.
Many experts have voiced concerns that this decision demonstrates a weakness of the European Union and the Belgian government, which they argue has effectively bowed to the Iranian regime’s blackmailing and bargaining tactics. Critics argue that the move may encourage further acts of terrorism and weaken the international community’s ability to deter and punish such actions.
In a statement, the Iranian Resistance strongly condemned the release of Assadi. The statement reads,
“The release of this terrorist diplomat, while the Constitutional Court had clearly stated in its judgment that the Belgian government should inform the victims before transferring the convicts so that they have the opportunity to once again take the issue to court. The release of the terrorist, who organized and commanded the biggest criminal act in Europe after the Second World War by violating the Court’s order, is a shameful ransom for terrorism and hostage-taking. This will embolden the religious fascism ruling Iran to continue its crimes in Iran through repression and regional and international terrorism. From May 1 to May 25, 127 people were executed in Iran.”
Assadi, who served as the third secretary of the Iranian embassy in Vienna, was arrested in Germany in July 2018 and later extradited to Belgium, where he was tried and convicted for his involvement in the bomb plot. The court found that he had provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with explosives and a detonator, with explicit instructions to target June 30, 2018, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) rally near Paris. The plot was foiled by European authorities, preventing a potentially devastating terrorist attack.
The decision to release Assadi has raised questions about the commitment of the EU and the Belgian government to combat terrorism and hold those responsible accountable. Critics argue that the prisoner swap sends a message of weakness and may embolden other state-sponsored terrorists to carry out similar attacks, believing that they can ultimately avoid serious consequences.
In response to the criticism, Belgian officials have defended their decision, arguing that the prisoner swap was a necessary step to secure the release of Belgian and European citizens detained in Iran on trumped-up charges. The government maintains that the exchange was carried out in the interests of national security and the well-being of the detained citizens.
However, this argument has done little to assuage the concerns of critics who argue that the decision has broader implications for the international community’s fight against terrorism and sets a dangerous precedent. They contend that the move undermines the rule of law and the principles of justice, which should be upheld regardless of the potential benefits of a prisoner exchange.
As the repercussions of this controversial decision continue to unfold, it remains to be seen whether the Belgian government’s actions will have lasting consequences for the EU’s approach to fighting terrorism and maintaining the rule of law.
The recent release of Assadi, alongside the ongoing human rights violations committed by the Iranian regime, should not be dismissed or disregarded in the name of enhancing relations or reaping economic advantages.
It is imperative for Western nations to unequivocally communicate their intolerance for terrorism support and human rights abuses, ensuring that those accountable for such acts are held responsible for their actions.