Albanian authorities target an Iranian terrorist network plotting against the MEK
According to reports in Albanian media on July 16, Albania’s Special Structure for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK), acting under directives from the Special Prosecutor’s Office, detained and questioned 20 Iranians for allegedly carrying out espionage operations in Albania for the Iranian regime. The People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), an Iranian opposition group, was the target of an Albanian police raid on the Ashraf 3 complex, which is close to Tirana, the country’s capital, targeting eight apartments, four offices, and several buildings where Iranian regime agents lived and conducted their illegal activities.
The ASILA Association, a front organization established in Albania by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) of the Iranian regime under the guise of a non-governmental organization, was also searched.
The following Iranian regime agents were the subjects of search warrants issued on July 12 by the Special Court for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime in Albania: Hassan Heyrani, Mehdi Soleimani, Gholamreza Shekari, Mostafa Beheshti, Abdolrahman Mohammadian, Hassan Shahbaz, Sarfaraz Rahimi, Mahmoud Dehghan Gourabi, Mohammad Reza Seddigh, Reza Islami, and Ali Hajari. All of their electronic devices, including phones, computers, tape recorders, and documents, were seized by the authorities as well.
Albanian authorities conducted their operations to prevent “any possible terrorist attack.” These individuals are accused of “receiving money from Iran’s secret services, the Qods Force, and the IRGC to obtain information about the MEK in Albania,” the court order further explains.
The Balkan Web reported on July 16 that SPAK authorities raided a terrorist cell back in 2019. Following the full investigation file made public by News 24, the terrorist cell intended to assassinate senior MEK official Mehdi Abrishamchi in Albania. This cell was also monitoring other MEK members in Albania.
Bijan Pooladrag, another agent of the Iranian regime who was detained by Albanian authorities two years ago, is directly responsible for these most recent events in Albania.
“The individuals in question are suspected of being members of a spy group, where Bijan Pooladrag, a former member of the MEK, was previously arrested. He is accused by SPAK of being part of a terrorist cell that intended to attack senior officials of the Iranian opposition, who live in Ashraf 3. He received orders and instructions through the Telegram application. And according to the investigations, the assassination of one of the senior members of the Mujahedin Khalq was being planned. One of Iran’s intelligence officers had ordered the defendant to procure a Kalashnikov machinegun in the black market and find trained people who could commit murder,” News24 reported.
Hadi Sani Khani, an Iranian national who had left the MEK in 2016, revealed his four years of cooperation with the same people in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on February 17, 2021. In particular, Hassan Heyrani, the ringleader and liaison between the mullahs’ network of agents in Albania and the Iranian regime’s embassy in Tirana.
“During this period, I began to collaborate with official agents of the MOIS in the Embassy in Albania…. and MOIS agents, including Ebrahim and Massoud Khodabandeh, Gholamreza Shekari and Ehsan Bidi, and later Hassan Heyrani. They used me in demonization, espionage, intelligence gathering, and reconnoitering schemes to carry out terrorist actions against the MEK,” Sani Khani wrote.