Belgian court verdict against Iranian diplomat contravenes 1961 Vienna Convention: Foreign Ministry

ran’s Foreign Ministry has slammed the “unlawful” jail term issued in Belgium against an Iranian diplomat as a “clear violation” of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, saying Tehran is making all-out efforts to clear him of the charges and secure his release as soon as possible.

“Iran regards the arrest, the legal procedures and the verdict issued against Assadollah Assadi as unlawful and a blatant violation of international law, specifically the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” the ministry’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said it had pursued all political, intelligence and legal channels to secure the freedom of the Iranian diplomat and has protested to the governments of Germany, Austria and Belgium over the illegal detention and holds them accountable for the repercussions of the arrest.

“The Foreign Ministry reserves its right to follow up on the issue through legal and diplomatic channels and, on this basis, [necessary] measures are being taken,” the statement said.

Earlier this month, a court in the Belgian city of Antwerp handed down the 20-year jail sentence to Assadi, claiming that he had plotted a supposed attack against a gathering of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) anti-Iran terrorist cult in Paris in 2018.

Tehran has said the verdict was a result of Belgium’s falling under the influence of the anti-Iran MKO terror group, which is freely active on Europe’s soil.

In June 2018, Belgian authorities said that the Belgian police had intercepted a car carrying homemade explosives and a detonation device, claiming that Assadi had handed the materials to two people in Belgium earlier.

Assadi, himself, was apprehended in Germany the next day and told he could not apply his diplomatic immunity.

Dimitri de Beco, the Iranian diplomat’s defense lawyer, said back then that the plaintiffs were turning the case into a political trial on behalf of the MKO, the most hated terror group in Iran.

The MKO has conducted many assassinations and bombings against Iranian officials and civilians since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It notoriously sided with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 war that he had imposed on Iran.