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Iran Press TV

Belgian parliament ratifies prisoner exchange treaty with Iran

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 21 July 2022 6:05 AM

The Belgian parliament has ratified a treaty with Iran allowing prisoner exchanges between the two sides, potentially opening the way for the release of an Iranian diplomat illegally jailed in the European country on false allegations despite his diplomatic immunity.

Following two days of debate, out of the 131 lawmakers present, 79 voted in favor and 41 against the treaty and 11 abstained from the vote held late on Wednesday.

According to the treaty, Iranians convicted in Belgium would be allowed to serve their sentences at home and vice versa.

The first reading of the treaty was approved by the parliament's foreign affairs committee on July 6, which led to a heated debate among the MPs.

The treaty will now potentially clear the way for the release of Assadollah Assadi, the Iranian diplomat sentenced by a Belgian court to 20 years in prison after accusing him of plotting an alleged attack against the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) anti-Iran terrorist group.

In June 2018, Belgian authorities said that the country's police had intercepted a car carrying homemade explosives and a detonation device, claiming that Assadi had handed the materials to two people in Belgium earlier.

Assadi, himself, was apprehended in Germany the next day and told he could not apply his diplomatic immunity.

Iran has repeatedly slammed the illegal arrest of Assadi and his dire detention condition, urging his immediate release.

Citing Belgian media, Nour News, which is affiliated with Iran's Supreme National Security Council, highlighted speculation that the treaty, which has been much criticized by the US, could pave the way for the repatriation of two Belgian nationals serving jail terms in Iran.

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