Belgian hostage crisis unfolds: Leaked documents reveal Iran’s bargaining strategy
Confidential documents, leaked on May 8, have unveiled the intricate backdrop of the so-called Assadi affair, suggesting that Vandecasteele is being used as a “bargaining chip” by Iran’s regime.
The documents reveal a clandestine prisoner swap agreement negotiated between Tehran and Brussels, predating Vandecasteele’s detainment in Iran. They further expose the significant role played by the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence.
Asadollah Assadi, a high-ranking diplomat at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, was implicated in a thwarted terrorist act on French soil in 2018, aimed at a gathering of the Iranian Resistance. Following his arrest and subsequent conviction in Belgium, Assadi was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment.
Despite his non-participation in the trial proceedings, Assadi audaciously threatened Belgium with further terrorism, apparently confident in his regime’s ability to broker “backstage” deals.
Shortly after Assadi’s conviction by the Antwerp Court, Iran escalated its efforts, leading to the detainment of Belgian citizen Olivier Vandecasteele on February 24, 2022. Vandecasteele’s capture appears to be part of a deliberate ploy by the Iranian regime to gain leverage in negotiations with the Belgian De Croo administration.
Upon the exposure of this underhand deal, the Iranian Resistance initiated a global campaign to raise awareness about these dubious alliances. Demonstrations were held across Europe and the Americas, including by Iranians residing in Belgium.
These recent findings highlight the Belgian government’s tacit agreement with Iran on a prisoner exchange. As reported by the Belgian het Laatste News, “Belgium and Iran first reached an agreement on a prisoner exchange, and only months later Olivier Vandecasteele was arrested as a bargaining chip.”
The leaked documents indicate that the initial draft of this agreement was penned in Tehran on April 26, 2021, with both parties signing it by May 31, 2021. Notably, at the time of these negotiations, Vandecasteele was still a free man. He was later arrested and subsequently sentenced in a dubious trial to 40 years in prison and 74 lashes.
The Iranian Resistance has consistently warned against the risks of appeasement, asserting that such strategies only serve to embolden the authoritarian regime in Tehran. The Belgian MP Koen Metsu echoed this sentiment during a rally in Brussels in July 2022, stating, “You change events by raising your voice, because you are a nation. Supporting you is what matters in this campaign.”
As it turns out, the Vandecasteele case is a sobering reminder of the far-reaching consequences of diplomatic concessions to Iran’s regime.
MEK Iran (follow us on Twitter and Facebook), Maryam Rajavi’s on her site, Twitter & Facebook, NCRI (Twitter & Facebook), and People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran – MEK IRAN – YouTu
Tags: Iran Diplomat Terrorist, Iran human rights, Iran Protests, Iran Uprising, Maryam Rajavi, Regime Change