The Release of Assadollah Assadi: Europe’s Dangerous Gamble With Tehran’s State Terrorism

At noon on Friday (May 26, 2023), the government of Oman announced that “the exchange of prisoners between Belgium and Iran is underway.”

The Iranian Resistance strongly condemns the release of the terrorist diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, and his return to Iran under the religious dictatorship ruling Iran.

The release of this terrorist diplomat takes place while the Constitutional Court had clearly stated in its judgment that the Belgian government should inform the victims before transferring the convicts so that they have the opportunity to once again take the issue to court.

The release of the terrorist, who organized and commanded the biggest criminal act in Europe after the Second World War, by violating the Court’s order, is a shameful ransom for terrorism and hostage-taking. This will embolden the religious fascism ruling Iran to continue its crimes in Iran through repression and regional and international terrorism. From May 1 to May 25, 127 people were executed in Iran.

The Iranian Resistance will continue to seek justice in Belgium and in the international arena to the extent possible.


Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

May 26, 2023

In a recent development, the Omani government disclosed its role in facilitating a prisoner exchange between Belgium and Iran’s regime. However, the release of Assadollah Assadi, a convicted terrorist diplomat from Tehran, drew strong condemnation from the Iranian opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). 

Before this incident, the Belgian Constitutional Court had issued a mandate requiring Brussels to inform the victims before extraditing the convict to Iran, granting them the opportunity to seek legal recourse. Shockingly, Assadi was released without notifying the victims, blatantly disregarding their rights and violating the court order. 

Assadi faced conviction for masterminding and spearheading a terrorist attack aimed at an NCRI rally near Paris in 2018. Regarded as one of the most significant terror attempts on European soil, the incident left leaders and security experts around the world pondering how far Tehran is willing to cross the line. 

This has not been the first time that an Iranian operative is caught red-handed but later exchanged as a Western government—in Assadi’s case, Belgium—succumbed to the regime’s hostage-taking act.  

Tehran’s involvement in staging terrorist attacks or plotting major acts of terror spans multiple countries and continents. The regime’s embassies have played a key role in both organizing and facilitating these crimes, some of which include:

On July 13, 1989, a tragic incident occurred in Vienna, where Abdol Rahman Qassemlou, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, along with his aides Abdullah Qaderi-Azar, Fadel Mala, and Mahmoud Rassoul, was fatally shot during a meeting with envoys from the Iranian regime. Shockingly, the perpetrators were allowed to return to Iran shortly after the crime took place.

On April 24, 1990, a tragic event unfolded when Prof. Kazem Rajavi, the representative of the NCRI in Switzerland and elder brother of Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, was assassinated in his car near Geneva in Coppet. Swiss authorities issued arrest warrants for at least 13 terrorists possessing Iranian service passports. In November 1992, two suspects, Mohsen Sharif Esfahani, and Ahmad Taheri, were apprehended in France. Subsequently, in February 1993, the Paris high court ordered the extradition of the two men to Switzerland. However, to the surprise of many, the French government covertly deported the suspects back to Iran.

On September 17, 1992, a horrific event unfolded at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin, Germany, where Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi, the leader of the KDPI, and his three Kurdish aides, Homayoun Ardalan, Fattah Abdollahi, and Nouri Dehkordi, were assassinated.

The transfer of Assadi sparked a wave of protests in all European countries. Iranians in Brussels rallied in front of the Prime Minister’s office with holding banners in condemnation of the shameful transfer deal between Belgium and Iran. In other European countries, Iranians rallied in front of the Belgian Embassies.