Diplomacy

Albania Expels Iranian Diplomats, Including Ambassador, For Terrorism Targeting Israelis

Albania expelled two Iranian diplomats, including the ambassador, for “damaging its national security,” Reuters reported Thursday.

Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post that the two had been expelled for a terror plot that targeted a World Cup match between Israel and Albania in 2016.

The move to expel the Iranian diplomats was backed by the United States.

“Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated,” National Security Adviser John Bolton wrote. “We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe.”

Since the summer, several other European countries have taken diplomatic actions against Iran for their roles in terror attempts and attacks on European soil.

Authorities in France, Germany, and Belgium arrested four people associated with the Paris attack on an Iranian opposition group. One of those arrested was an Iranian diplomat and French authorities charged that Iran’s intelligence agency was behind the plot.

In July, the Netherlands announced that it had expelled two Iranian diplomats two months ago. Iran’s Foreign Ministry subsequently announced that it had summoned the Dutch ambassador and conveyed to him that the expulsion was “unfriendly and nonconstructive,” and that Iran could choose to retaliate.

Though the Dutch government has given no reason for the expulsions, an Iranian-Arab separatist was killed in the Hague in November 2017.

In October, Danish authorities recalled their ambassador from Tehran and have discussed imposing sanctions on Iran for attempting a terror attack on its soil.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the importance of the diplomatic actions taken against his country, describing the earlier terror attempts as “false flags.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry ridiculed the expulsion of its diplomats, saying that Albania had been misled by “a scenario fabricated by the US and Israel.”

[Photo: Jeroen Aalderink / Flickr ]