Darya Safai (center) reacts during a plenary session of the Chamber at the Federal Parliament in Brussels in June 2023.

Belgian Police Boost Security For Iranian-Born Lawmaker After Death Threats

Friday, 12/01/2023

The Belgian police are beefing up security measures to protect Darya Safai, an Iranian-born member of parliament, following death threats she received on social media.

In an interview with Iran International, Safai said that the death threats against her have increased following the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“I should be careful and report any suspicious events around me” to the police, the lawmaker wrote on X.

The police has launched a probe into the nature and sources of the threats.

Safai blamed Islamists for the threats, vowing that she will continue to stand up for freedom.

“It’s incomprehensible that people should make serious threats … instead of responding with substantive arguments. But that is just how Islamists operate,” read her post on X.

Speaking to Iran International, she accused the Iranian regime of orchestrating the threats by promoting Islamist extremism in Belgium and the whole of Europe.

Safai warned that Tehran is trying to target its opponents indirectly under the guise of backing the Palestinian cause.

The alarming rise of extremism and antisemitism have raised serious concerns among European countries, with many of them blaming the Islamic Republic for fostering such activities.

In October, The Times warned that Iranian agents are stirring up unrest in the UK through Gaza protests.

There is direct involvement of the Iranian regime through the physical presence of operatives at protests as well as through disinformation campaigns conducted online, the newspaper said.

Earlier in November, German authorities executed raids on 54 locations connected to the Islamic Center of Hamburg (IZH), suspected of supporting Iran-backed Hezbollah. 

On November 4, Safai condemned attempts to silence her with the label of “Islamophobe,” especially since the current conflict began in the Middle East.

“What the world is experiencing today is much broader than a war between Israel and Hamas. It is a broad war that shows the direction for certain Muslims to ultimately achieve their goals,” she said earlier this month, highlighting the Muslims’ promised goal to conquer the world and establish an Islamic rule. 

Last November, Iran International was warned by London Police that its journalists were under threat from Iranian agents and the police took measures to strengthen security around the network’s offices. A man was arrested in the vicinity of Iran International’s headquarters in February and charged with a terrorism offence.

Safai has been one of the most vocal European lawmakers critical of the Islamic Republic, advocating a tougher stance towards Tehran and its regional and international policies.

She is also one of the staunch supporters of listing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. 

Safai told Iran International on Thursday that she has been under police protection since June after she criticized a formal invitation extended to Alireza Zakani, the mayor of Tehran, to visit Belgium. Her criticism angered Iranian officials, with some reports saying that they might try to target anti-regime activists and figures who openly opposed Zakani’s visit.

Tehran’s mayor was a hardliner member of parliament before becoming a candidate in the 2021 presidential election and withdrawing in favor of the current president Ebrahim Raisi. He also served as the head of IRGC’s Student Basij paramilitary forces and had a prominent role in cracking down on students during popular protests in July 1999.

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