Djalali execution threat: Tehran gets a call
Belgian foreign minister Sophie Wilmès (Francophone liberal) has spoken with her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. The two foreign ministers are believed to have discussed the plight of Ahmadreza Djalali, guest professor at the Flemish Free University of Brussels, VUB, facing execution. Prof Djalali is a dual Swedish-Iranian national, who has been condemned to death following a conviction for spying.
Ms Wilmès does not wish to comment on the telephone conversation. Iranian sources say the two spoke about the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as well as over bilateral, consular issues. Belgian foreign ministry sources add that Prof Djalali’s plight was also discussed. Ms Wilmès is said to have spoken of Belgium’s opposition in principle to the death penalty and Belgium’s wish not to see the VUB professor executed.
Amnesty International reports that an order to transfer Prof Djalali to a prison where executions are carried out has been delayed. Iran’s motives for moving towards an execution now are unclear. Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi is currently standing trial here. With Prof Djalali alive Iran would possess a trump card in any possible exchange talks.