Iran indicts Belgian and two French nationals for espionage
Iran has indicted a Belgian national and two French nationals for espionage and working against the country's national security, a spokesman for Iran's judiciary told the semi-official Student News Network on Tuesday, according to news channel al Arabiya. Belgium's Foreign Affairs department only revealed that it is aware of one Belgian national convicted in Iran in late 2022.
In recent months, Iran has accused several foreigners of fuelling the unrest that erupted in the country three months ago following the death in custody of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini. Amini had been arrested by the moral police enforcing the Islamic Republic's mandatory dress code.
The Belgian Foreign Affairs Department is only aware of one Belgian national imprisoned in Iran who was sentenced in late 2022, although this person's verdict was never made public or reported in writing.
In all likelihood, Belgium's Foreign Affairs department is referring to Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele, who was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison in Iran. It has not yet been confirmed that Vandecasteele is also the Belgian indicted for espionage by Iran's judiciary.
A demonstration in solidarity with Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele in Brussels on December 25, 2022. Vandecasteele was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison in Iran © François WALSCHAERTS / AFP