Iran repeated calls for release of Assadollah Assadi, serving a 20-year sentence in Belgium over a terror attack in Paris, and former jailor Hamid Nouri, on trial in Sweden for his role in 1988 prison purges.

Iran repeated calls for release of Assadollah Assadi, serving a 20-year sentence in Belgium over a terror attack in Paris, and former jailor Hamid Nouri, on trial in Sweden for his role in 1988 prison purges.

Foreign ministry’s new spokesperson Naser Kanani told reporters on Wednesday that Tehran is following up the cases to free former officials as soon as possible. Their cases were a priority for the foreign ministry since their arrest, he added. 

“Assadi’s unconditional release is Iran's request, and talks are ongoing with the Belgian government, and we hope that with the efforts we have made, we will see the release of this diplomat in the near future,” he said. 

His remarks came as numerous Iranian and foreign rights groups have expressed concerns about a prisoner exchange treaty between Belgium and Iran that was passed by the Belgian parliament’s foreign relations committee and will go to the full 150-member chamber July 14, warning that approving such a treaty condones hostage-taking policy by the Islamic Republic and undermines accountability for Iranian officials convicted for acts of terrorism abroad.

Kanani also said the Iranian Embassy in Sweden and the foreign ministry have seriously put consular support for Nouri’s release on their agenda. “We believe that the arrest of this Iranian citizen does not have a proper judicial basis and unfortunately, the political atmosphere of a hostile and terrorist movement has provided the ground for his illegal arrest.”

Iran says Nouri’s detention is driven by “false allegations” made by the Albania-based opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MEK).

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