Albania’s Decision to Expel Regime Diplomats is Welcomed by the Trump Administration
The Albanian government expelled two diplomats, including the Iranian ambassador, from the Iranian embassy in Tirana. Following a surge in Iranian state-sponsored terror activities on European soil and recent terror-arrests on the continent, the Albanian foreign ministry confirmed that it was expelling the diplomats for “violating their diplomatic status”.
Congratulations to D courageous #Albania for expelling #Iran's #terrorist ambassador. Albanians will not be bullied by Tehran's tyrants & their evil plots to murder & maim D democratic opposition PMOI/#MEK in Ashraf III#ExpelIranDiplomatTerrorists @ediramaal @Maryam_Rajavi
— STRUAN (@STRUANSTEVENSON) December 20, 2018
The move drew praise from the Trump administration. The US president penned a letter to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama which thanked the Albanian leader for countering Iranian “destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe”.
#ExpelIranDiplomatTerrorists #Albania: espulso l'Ambasciatore #iran'iano per sostegno al #terrorismo e minaccia attentati contro rifugiati politici iraniani residenti in Albania. https://t.co/rJXBcqxCQn …@GlobalCRL @HandsOffCain_It @UANI @hrw @AmnestyIran @ispionline
— Giulio Terzi (@GiulioTerzi) December 20, 2018
According to reporting by The Independent, a source with knowledge of the matter said the expulsions were connected to an aborted March 2018 scheme by two alleged Iranian members of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, its foreign secret operations branch, caught planning “an explosive” attack against the base or personnel of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MEK.
In the letter, Trump said the move would send a message to Tehran that its “terrorist activities in Europe and around the world will have severe consequences”.
Fox News in an article published at its website wrote: “Albania is a particular target for the regime as it is home to more than 2,000 Iranian dissidents belonging to People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) after they were relocated from Iraq in 2016.
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a coalition of Iranian resistance groups that includes MEK, said in a statement that Iran must be shown “their terrorist activities in Europe and across the world will have serious consequences.”
“The regime in Tehran is the godfather and the epicenter of terrorism under the banner of Islam in the world today. As such, designating the Ministry of Intelligence as a terrorist entity and expelling the mullahs’ diplomat-terrorists from the U.S. and Europe is necessary for these countries’ security and is demanded by the Iranian people,” Fox News reported.
Other senior figures in the Trump administration also issued statements of solidarity with Albania following the decision. His National Security Adviser John Bolton, a supporter of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), released a statement on Twitter. It read, “We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behaviour in Europe and across the globe”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also issued a statement of support. He said, “the world must stand together to sanction Iran’s regime until it changes its destructive behaviour.”
2018 has seen a surge in Iranian terror activities. In June, an Iranian couple was arrested, along with a diplomat working at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, over their involvement in a plot to detonate a car bomb in Paris. The object of their attack was the annual Grand Gathering hosted by the MEK.
Further terror attacks were coordinated in Albania, where 2,000 members of the MEK are living in exile. Authorities in Denmark also reported foiling a planned assassination to be carried out by Iranian agents against a member of the opposition.