The Belgian envoy was called in to the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday to file Tehran’s “strong representations” with Brussels over the 20-year jail term handed down by an Antwerp court against an Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, on a baseless charge.
At the meeting, the Foreign Ministry’s director-general for Western Europe slammed the ruling as a violation of international law, which disregards Belgium’s commitments to the Islamic Republic.
Earlier this month, a court in the Belgian city of Antwerp handed down the 20-year jail sentence to Assadi, claiming that he had plotted a supposed attack against a gathering of the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) terrorist cult in Paris in 2018.
Tehran has rejected the verdict and said it was a result of Belgium’s falling under the influence of the anti-Iran MKO terror group, which is freely active on Europe’s soil.
Assadi’s arrest, trial and sentencing is a breach of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and thus lacks legitimacy, the official added.
The detention and the ensuing judicial process was in line with the plots hatched the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group with the goal of harming Iran-Europe relations.
He said even statements by certain Belgian authorities and the judicial process were clearly reflective of the terror outfit’s rhetoric.
The Iranian official further asked the Brussels government to respect humanitarian rules in dealing with Assadi and swiftly free the diplomat.
In turn, the Belgian ambassador said he would submit Tehran’s note of protest to the government in Brussels.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has slammed the “unlawful” jail term issued in Belgium against an Iranian diplomat as a “clear violation” of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, saying Tehran is making all-out efforts to clear him of the charges and secure his release as soon as possible.
“Iran regards the arrest, the legal procedures and the verdict issued against Assadollah Assadi as unlawful and a blatant violation of international law, specifically the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” the ministry’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Tuesday.
The ministry said it had pursued all political, intelligence and legal channels to secure the freedom of the Iranian diplomat and has protested to the governments of Germany, Austria and Belgium over the illegal detention and holds them accountable for the repercussions of the arrest.
“The Foreign Ministry reserves its right to follow up on the issue through legal and diplomatic channels and, on this basis, [necessary] measures are being taken,” the statement said.
In June 2018, Belgian authorities said that the Belgian 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.
Dimitri de Beco, the Iranian diplomat’s defense lawyer, said back then that the plaintiffs were turning the case into a political trial on behalf of the MKO, the most hated terror group in Iran.
The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community. Its members fled Iran in 1986 for Iraq, where they received support from then dictator Saddam Hussein.
The notorious outfit has carried out numerous attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials for several decades.
In 2012, the US State Department removed the MKO from its list of designated terrorist organizations under intense lobbying by groups associated to Saudi Arabia and other regimes adversarial to Iran.
A few years ago, MKO members were relocated from their Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province to Camp Hurriyet (Camp Liberty), a former US military base in Baghdad, and were later sent to Albania.
Those members, who have managed to escape, have revealed MKO’s scandalous means of access to money, almost exclusively coming from Saudi Arabia.
The MKO terrorist group has openly specified targets as martyred Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who commanded the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Iranian Judiciary Chief Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi.
The terrorist organization said it would “welcome” their assassination, adding that it desired for the ranking officials to “join” Asadollah Lajevardi, Tehran’s former chief prosecutor, and Ali Sayyad-Shirazi, a former commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces during Iraq’s 1980-88 war against Iran, who have both been assassinated.
Earlier in June 2019, a leaked audio of a phone conversation between two members of MKO, revealed Saudi regime has colluded with the MKO elements to frame Iran for the tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf.
In the audio, Shahram Fakhteh, an official member and the person in charge of MKO’s cyber operations, is heard talking with a US-based MKO sympathizer named Daei-ul-Eslam in Farsi, IFP news reported.
In this conversation, the two elements discuss the MKO’s efforts to introduce Iran as the culprit behind the tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf, and how the Saudis contacted them to pursue the issue.
“In the past week we did our best to blame the [Iranian] regime for the (oil tanker) blasts. Saudis have called Sister Maryam (Rajavi)’s office to follow up on the results, [to get] a conclusion of what has been done, and the possible consequences,” Fakhteh is heard saying.
“I guess this can have different consequences. It can send the case to the UN Security Council or even result in military intervention. It can have any consequence,” Daei-ul-Eslam says.
Attacks on two commercial oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, and an earlier attack on four oil tankers off the UAE’s Fujairah port on May 12, 2019, have escalated tensions in West Asia and raised the prospect of a military confrontation between Iran and the United States.
The US, Saudi regime, and the UAE have rushed to blame Iran for the incidents, with the US military releasing a grainy video it claimed shows Iranian forces in a patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from the side of a Japanese-owned tanker which caught fire earlier.
It later released some images of the purported Iranian operation after the video was seriously challenged by experts and Washington’s own allies.
The MKO which is said to be a cult which turns humans into obedient robots, turned against Iran after the 1979 Revolution and has carried out several terrorist attacks killing senior officials in Iran; yet the West which says cultism is wrong and claims to be against terrorism, supports this terrorist group officially.
After the resounding victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the MKO began its enmity against Iran by killings over 17,000 Iranians and terrorist activities. Several members of the terrorist group and its ringleaders are living in France now, freely conducting terrorist activities.
The MKO terrorist group has martyred 17,161 Iranian citizens, including late President Mohammad Ali Rajayee, former Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar, late Head of Supreme Judicial Council Ayatollah Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti, late Deputy Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff Ali Sayyad Shirazi, and 72 legislators, as well as four nuclear scientists.