Iran Urges Release of Diplomat Held in Belgium

Iran Urges Release of Diplomat Held in Belgium

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Foreign Ministry of Iran denounced Belgium’s move to imprison Iranian diplomat Asadollah Asadi on false terror-related charges, calling for his immediate release.

In a statement on Tuesday night, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh reacted to the media hype that came after an appeals court in Belgium issued rulings for three people who, as per baseless accusations, are said to have been in touch with Asadollah Asadi, the Iranian diplomat who is illegally jailed in Belgium.

“Unfortunately, today, under the pretext of holding appeals court for the three foregoing people, we are once again witnessing fabricated lies by Western media about Mr. Asadi, a diplomat of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the spokesman said, according to the Foreign Ministry’s website.

Khatibzadeh added that just as said before, all the stages of detaining, trying and issuing the court ruling for Asadi have been in gross violation of the Vienna convention regarding diplomatic rights.

He noted that Iran has already protested to Austria, Germany and Belgium officially and it has time and again rejected the accusations leveled against Asadi and demanded that he be immediately freed.

The spokesperson also described the whole issue as a preplanned scenario that has been acted by a terrorist group (MKO) with the goal of Iranophobia. Khatibzadeh went on to stress that alongside diplomatic measures, Iran is actively pursuing the matter through legal channels and the European sides involved in the issue of Asadi have been called to account.

“In addition to his immediate freedom, we will push for compensation, rehabilitation, and commitment not to repeat a similar action”, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman added.

He finally underlined that the basic rights of Asadi during all the stages of detention to the judicial proceedings and even after the issuance of a verdict were severely and in an unfortunate manner violated by the self-styled defenders of human rights, saying the other sides must be held accountable for the rights violations.

In June 2018, Belgian authorities said that the Belgian police had intercepted a car carrying homemade explosives and a detonation device, claiming that Asadollah Asadi had handed the materials to two people in Belgium earlier. Asadi, himself, was apprehended in Germany the next day and told that he could not apply his diplomatic immunity.

A Belgian court then sentenced the diplomat, who serves as the third counselor at Iran's Embassy in Vienna, to 20 years in prison after accusing him of plotting an alleged attack against the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) cult.

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