Iran’s parliament debates Belgium’s prisoner exchange deal – Middle East Monitor

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Iran’s parliament is set to debate a prisoner swap deal with Belgium, state media said on Monday after Brussels approved the deal that could lead to the release of an Iranian diplomat jailed for planning a bombing of a rally by an exiled opposition group , reported reports Reuters.

The official Iranian news agency IRNA said the cabinet had approved the prisoner exchange treaty bill and submitted it to parliament.

If the bill is passed by Parliament, it must be approved by a spiritual council before it becomes law.

Belgian lawmakers on July 20 approved the deal that could secure the release of a Belgian aid worker jailed in Iran in February and help Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali, who taught in Belgium and was sentenced to death in Iran.

Iran has demanded the release of Assadollah Assadi, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Belgium in 2021 after being convicted of a foiled 2018 bomb plot. It was the first trial of an Iranian official on suspected terrorism in Europe since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

It is not clear when a prisoner exchange might take place.

READ: Belgium ratifies treaty allowing extradition of terror suspects to Iran

Several Belgian lawmakers have expressed concerns that the treaty could lead to “hostage diplomacy” and put other Belgians at risk of imprisonment.

The exiled National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), whose 2018 rally near Paris was the target of the bombing, called the deal “shameful” and said Assadi should remain in prison.

The Islamic Republic has denied all terrorism allegations, calling the Paris attack allegations a “false flag” stunt by the NCRI, which itself is considered a terrorist group.

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