The Belgian Foreign Ministry has urged citizens visiting Iran to “leave the country as soon as possible due to the risk of arrest” after Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecastel was jailed there.
The ministry said in a statement: “Any Belgian visitor, even those with dual citizenship, is at risk of arrest and detention, and this risk also extends to individuals who are only making a tourist visit to Iran.”
And Belgian consular services recorded the presence of 200 Belgian citizens in Iran this summer.
The ministry added: “In the event of arrest or detention, the fundamental rights and safety of people are not guaranteed. In this context, the ability of the Belgian Embassy in Tehran to guarantee consular protection to arrested or detained citizens is limited. “
“Belgian citizens who are currently in Iran, despite this warning, are urged to exercise the utmost vigilance and take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety,” she added.
The situation in relations between Belgium and Iran escalated after the arrest of Iranian diplomat Asadollah Asadi, who was sentenced in Belgium in 2021 to twenty years in prison.
Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecastel has been sentenced to 28 years in prison since his arrest on February 24.
His family stated that he was arrested for no reason, and the Iranian authorities did not provide any indication as to what charges were leveled against him.
On Thursday, the Belgian Constitutional Court suspended a prisoner exchange deal between Belgium and Iran that was approved by parliament in July to facilitate the return of a humanitarian worker.