Albania Expels Iranian Diplomats for 'Harming Security'
Albania has expelled two Iranian diplomats, including the ambassador according to a US official, who are suspected of "involvement in activities that harm the country's security," the Balkan state said Wednesday.
"The decision to declare them 'persona non grata' was taken after consultations with countries allied to Albania," Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Edlira Prendi told reporters.
She declined to provide the diplomats' names or elaborate on the nature of their alleged offence.
But in welcoming the news on Twitter, US National Security Adviser John Bolton identified one of the diplomats as the ambassador.
"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," Bolton wrote.
He added: "We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran's reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe."
An Albanian TV station, Top Channel, reported that the Iranians were suspected of links to an alleged plot to attack a 2016 World Cup match between Albania and Israel.
After the match some 20 people were arrested in Albania and Kosovo in connection with the alleged plot.
At the request of US authorities and the UN in 2013, Albania agreed to take in some 3,000 members of Iranian opposition group known as The People's Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI).
Their relocation from a camp in Iraq was completed in 2016 when the last 280 people left for Albania. They currently live in a compound in the northwest of the country.
Photo Credit: IRNA