Mike Brest, Defense Reporter, Originally Published on Washington Examiner, July 12, 2022
Protesters in Washington, D.C., are hoping to sway the Belgian government into rejecting a bill that, if passed, would facilitate the transfer of a former Iranian diplomat serving a 20-year sentence for plotting a bombing back to Iran.
Assadollah Assadi, who was an employee at Iran’s embassy in Vienna, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in February 2021 for his role in an attempted bombing at a rally held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran in France in 2018. A new bill in Belgium’s parliament would send him back to Iran to serve the remainder of his sentence.
The rally-goers, who included Iranian dissidents from all over the United States, marched around the Belgian Embassy and to the White House.
Farideh Sedighi, a protester who traveled from her California home to go to the rally, was with her husband at the 2018 rally in France, which was the target of the attempted bombing.
“I wanted to do everything that I can to be the voice against this treaty because this is not only about me, my family, my friends, Iranian people,” she told the Washington Examiner in an interview. “This treaty basically opens the door to the Iranian regime terrorism, which would be bad for everybody in the world.”
Earlier this week, Belgian lawmakers gave their initial approval to a prisoner swap that includes Assadi, according to the Jerusalem Post. The vote was a committee vote in the parliament’s lower chamber, while the upper chamber is expected to hold a final vote in the next couple of weeks.
Homeira Hesami, another participant who traveled from Texas for the rally, described the possible swap as a “mockery of justice” and “unbelievable.”
Assadi’s plot revolved around a 2018 Free Iran gathering near Paris organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political arm of Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK. Belgian authorities stopped the attack after receiving a tip from the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. They pulled over a couple, 40-year-old Amir Saadouni and 36-year-old Nasimeh Naami, who were traveling in a Mercedes, and they were found with a detonator and a little more than a pound of an explosive. READ MORE…