Tehran has denounced Albania for expelling two Iranian diplomats, saying the Balkan country fell prey to a scenario fabricated by the US and Israel.
Albania’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that it had expelled two Iranian diplomats suspected of “involvement in activities that harm the country’s security.”
A ministry spokesman told the Associated Press that the expulsions followed talks with others, including Israel.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday that Albania’s move was “in line with previous such scenarios meant to damage Iran-Europe relations at the current sensitive juncture.”
He said the expulsions come while Tehran has “always had appropriate relations with Albania and respected all of its domestic regulations in a move based on principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy.”
US National Security Adviser John Bolton was quick to publicly support Albania’s decision.
“We stand with PM [Edi] Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe,” he tweeted.
Qassemi said that Washington’s stance on the issue and Albania’s declaration that its move had been coordinated with foreign security services, prove that the US and the regime in Israel had been behind the expulsions.
Albania, he added, had fallen prey to a scenario fabricated by the US and the Israeli regime and certain terrorist groups.
The Iranian official further called on the Albanian government “to defend its sovereignty, independence and security” in the face of the US-Israeli scenario,” stressing that the country “must not allow others to affect and hamper its relations with Iran due to special political reasons.”
Albania hosts thousands of members of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), a notorious anti-Iran terror group.
The MKO has carried out numerous attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials over the past three decades and is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community.
Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist assaults since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.
Albania is not the first European country to make such claims against Iran.
Back in June, Belgian authorities said that an Iranian diplomat had been arrested along with a 38-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, suspected of plotting a bomb attack on an MKO meeting in Paris attended by US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers.
Assadollah Assadi, 46, was arrested in Germany and later extradited to Belgium in defiance of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.
Later on October 30, Danish intelligence chief Finn Borch Andersen claimed that an Iranian intelligence service had tried to carry out a plot to assassinate an Iranian Arab opposition figure on Denmark’s soil.
Swedish security police also said a Norwegian citizen of Iranian descent had been arrested on October 21 in connection with the alleged plot and extradited to Denmark.
Israeli media later revealed that the Israeli spy agency Mossad had provided Denmark with “intelligence” concerning the alleged plot by Tehran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that Tel Aviv is behind what Iranian Foreign Minister described as “false flags” in Europe.
Tehran said “invisible hands” were at work to damage Iran’s ties with Europe at the time when the two sides are closely cooperating to save the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal following the US’s pullout.