Freed Iranian diplomat arrives in Tehran after prisoner swap with Belgium

An Iranian diplomat imprisoned in Belgium in connection with a failed bomb plot arrived back in Tehran on Friday after he was freed in a prisoner swap mediated by Oman.

The diplomat, Asadollah Assadi, was convicted in Belgium in 2021 in connection with a foiled bomb plot in France and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In exchange for his freedom, Iran released Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele who was jailed on charges including spying.

Vandecasteele, 42, was arrested on a visit to Iran in February 2022 and sentenced in January to 40 years in prison and 74 lashes.

The Belgian government said on Friday they had reason to believe that Iran had been planning to increase his sentence.

Both countries rejected the charges against their citizens as fabricated.