December 8, 2022

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Iranian Parliament okays exchange of prisoners with Belgium

TEHRAN — The Iranian parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of a draft treaty that would allow exchange of convicts between Iran and Belgium.

195 MPs voted in favor of the draft, 2 against, and 7 abstained. 

A clause of the ratification says the bill is “approved and permission to exchange its documents is given.”

The clause says the bill consists of an introduction and twenty-two articles described in the attachment.

On July 21, out of the 131 Belgian MPs present in the parliament, 79 voted in favor of a bill that would allow the exchange of convicts between the two countries, while 41 rejected the treaty, and 11 abstained, Politico reported.

The treaty ratified in the Belgian parliament also allows each party to grant amnesty.

The deal may clear the way for the release of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat who was wrongfully convicted in Belgian courts and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The accord may also open the path for a future political agreement with other Europeans imprisoned in Iran.

The pact has been criticized in the United States.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, advised Belgium not to give Assadi immunity.

In this regard, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said discussions over the exchange of Assadi with a Belgian citizen are not true.

“Mr. Assadollah Assadi is one of the diplomats of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who enjoyed diplomatic immunity according to international law. He was illegally arrested in Germany and was transferred to Belgium based on an illegal order in 2018, and the Belgian court held a completely flawed and non-compliant court, sentencing him to 20 years in prison,” the judiciary spokesman stated. 

“We demand Assadi’s unconditional extradition,” he said, adding Iran’s demand is made regardless of the bill ratified in the Belgian parliament. 

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