Belgium has refused to reverse its bad decision, despite widespread condemnation of the Tehran-Brussels treaty. The treaty in question was said to have been negotiated in March, but its existence was not made public until the end of June. The secrecy reflects the expected backlash against a treaty clearly intended to facilitate the release of an Iranian diplomat-terrorist who was almost responsible for the worst modern terrorist attack on European soil.
Assadi then drove the Iranian-made bomb to Luxembourg in a rented car and handed it over to two accomplices, along with instructions on how to use it and where to place it. The plot’s intended target was an international gathering of Iranian expatriates, as well as Western lawmakers and foreign policy experts, organized near Paris by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Fortunately, the plot failed.
The trial also established unequivocally that Assadi was not acting on his own initiative or as a rogue agent. Rather, his strategy had its origins in Tehran, specifically the Supreme National Security Council, a body whose decisions routinely include input from both the regime’s president and its supreme leader.
The Belgian judiciary should be commended for prosecuting Assadollah Assadi and eventually imposing the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison in February 2021. It was understood at the time that his case could pave the way for similar accountability from other Iranian regime agents. Especially in light of the Swedish court’s decision to sentence former prison official Hamid Noury to life in prison for his role in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mostly MEK members, during the summer of 1988.
Noury’s conviction represented a small but significant challenge to that impunity, but the treaty for “transfer of sentenced persons” has called into question its long-term consequences.
If Assadi is released, it will most likely be in exchange for a Belgian aid worker held hostage by the Iranian regime just before treaty talks with Brussels. If that hostage-taking incident results in the release of a convicted Iranian terrorist, Tehran will have plenty of reason to believe that its impunity remains intact and that it even extends to Iranian intelligence agents working to facilitate attacks on dissidents and activists in Europe and North America.
After all, if the mullahs already see terrorism as being in their own self-interest, why would they hesitate to give orders for additional attacks to operatives like Assadollah Assadi, knowing that Western powers will not hold Tehran accountable and will not even demand that the terrorist himself serve out his sentence if Tehran can simply take another Western national hostage?