Iran says it wants to move ahead with Belgium prisoner swap

Iran expresses its readiness for a long-awaited prisoner swap with Belgium, days after the European country’s Constitutional Court gave the green light for such a move.

Following the decision “by the Belgian Constitutional Court, we can now say that the way to implement the agreement has been opened, and the Islamic Republic of Iran certainly welcomes this change,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani tells reporters in Tehran.

The move would see Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele — sentenced in Iran to 40 years in jail for several charges including spying — swapped for Iranian official Assadollah Assadi who was convicted in Belgium for masterminding a plot to blow up a 2018 opposition event outside Paris.

Under a treaty Belgium and Iran signed in 2022, Vandecasteele would have been eligible to be swapped for Assadi but in December Belgium’s constitutional court suspended the implementation of the treaty. That suspension was lifted Friday.

“We have stated that he (Assadi) must be released unconditionally, compensation must be paid, and a commitment should be given not to repeat such actions,” Kanani says, adding that “with the recent change, we hope to see an opening regarding the diplomat’s case.”

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure:
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.