France is following Belgian-Iranian Treaty developments 'with special attention'

The French authorities are following the debates in the Belgian parliament on the controversial prisoner transfer deal between Belgium and Iran "with special attention," the French Interior Ministry stated in response to a question from Belga.

On Thursday, the Belgian plenary chamber will give its verdict on the bill allowing Belgium and Iran to transfer prisoners to each other. The treaty that will be put before the chamber dates back to March 11 and was approved in the Chamber's Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. 

The treaty is controversial because Tehran is said to be working for the release of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year in Belgium for his involvement in a foiled bomb attack near Paris. For its part, the Belgian government is pushing for the release of a Belgian NGO worker who has been detained in Tehran since February. 

"The fight against the threat terrorism poses to our national territory and international security is a priority for France, without any concessions to organisations promoting terror or to individuals, entities or countries supporting it," says the French Interior Ministry. 

"We have responded decisively" to the planned attack on an Iranian opposition rally in Villepinte for which Assadi was convicted, the statement reads. The ministry also stated that France was behind the decision to place the Internal Security Directorate of Iran's intelligence service and two individuals "who were directly involved in the preparations for the plans" on a European list of sanctions against terror organisations in early 2019. Apart from Assadi, that list also includes Hashemi Moghadam, who was deputy minister of Iran's intelligence service at the time.



A protest against the Belgian-Iranian Treaty in Brussels on July 5 © BELGA PHOTO NILS QUINTELIER

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