AJC Deplores Belgium-Iran Deal to Release Iranian Terrorist

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AJC Deplores Belgium-Iran Deal to Release Iranian Terrorist

Brussels – 21 July 2022 – The AJC Transatlantic Institute deplores the Belgian Parliament's ratification of a Prisoner Exchange Deal with Iran, which will likely see the transfer and release of convicted terrorist Assadollah Assadi. 

Assadi, an Iranian diplomat, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in Belgium for plotting in 2018 a mega terror attack on an opposition rally in Paris, attended by thousands of activists as well as politicians from across Europe and the US. Narrowly foiled by security services, the planned bombing would have caused massive casualties.

“Assadi's transfer to Iran and release would be an unacceptable injustice and an insult to his intended victims. It would also be an unfathomable reward to a terrorist regime,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Brussels-based EU Office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute. 

"Moreover, the treaty establishes a devastating precedent and threatens to turn Belgium into a safe haven for Iranian terrorists to operate with impunity," Schwammenthal continued. "It would incentivize the Iranian regime to arrest even more innocent people with dual European nationality on trumped-up charges to hold them hostage in exchange for Iranian terrorists and agents or other concessions that would threaten our collective security and interests," he added. 

AJC previously urged Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo to withdraw from this agreement, saying “it would undermine European security and bring about grave reputational damage to the Belgian state.”

A week ago, a cross-party group of 17 Members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the Belgian Parliament urging it not to ratify the deal.

The deal was signed between the two countries last March, but still needed parliamentary approval.