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Asadollah Assadi

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 21 June 2022

3. If she will make representations to her Iranian counterpart on the case of Iranian diplomat, Asadollah Assadi. (900621)

The UK condemns in the strongest terms the targeting of civilians and regularly raises this issue with the Government of Iran. We welcome the fact that those responsible for the plot against the conference in Paris in 2018 have been held to account. The Belgian courts have convicted four individuals, including Asadollah Assadi, who received a 20-year sentence. We continue to work with the international community to ensure that all countries, including Iran, abide by international rules and norms.

I am trying to hide my disappointment in the answer. Asadollah Assadi orchestrated a planned terrorist attack in mainland Europe that would have resulted in mass casualties, including five Members of the British Parliament, including me. At the Munich security conference earlier this year, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, met his Belgian and Swedish counterparts for private talks, which included seeking a petition for the release of Assadi and others through prisoner swaps. It would have been ironic if those of us who oppose the joint comprehensive plan of action had been victims, as the terrorists were using resources that came from the sanctions. May I ask the Secretary of State again to meet with her Iranian counterpart to make it clear that any future JCPOA must ensure human rights in Iran and must ensure that terrorism activities are relinquished across the region, including those aimed at mainland Europe?

I am not able to speculate on the context of bilateral talks between Iran and other countries. The UK’s position is absolutely clear: the behaviour of Iran in a whole number of areas is unacceptable. We raise this regularly, and I know that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has raised our concerns about the Iranian Government’s behaviour on numerous occasions. We will ensure that we continue to call on the Iranian Government to abide by international rules and laws and to respect human rights at every level, including the right of criticism on the international stage.