Iran president Raisi meets diplomat Assadi freed by Belgium in prisoner swap

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has met with diplomat Assadollah Assadi, recently freed by Belgium in a high-profile prisoner swap case in May, the presidency site said Saturday.

“The claimants of human rights have shown once again that they do not adhere to any law,” Raisi said in reference to Western countries during the meeting which took place on Friday.

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They “breached the international rules, regulations and principles by violating the diplomatic immunity of the Iranian diplomat in a clear and unprecedented manner,” he added.

Assadi was sentenced in Belgium to 20 years in prison after he was convicted of playing a role in a plot to blow up an Iranian opposition event in 2018 outside Paris.

He, however, was liberated on May 26 in an Oman-mediated exchange that saw Iran releasing Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele, incarcerated in Tehran for 15 almost months.

The exchange happened after months of heated debates in Belgium especially in the country’s parliament.

The 42-year-old Belgian was sentenced in January to 40 years in prison and 74 lashes for “espionage,” Tehran’s judiciary said at the time, after a trial his family and Belgian authorities dubbed “unfair.”

Since May, Oman-mediated negotiations have facilitated the release of six European nationals from Iran while several others remain behind bars.

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