Gov’t decares two more Iranian diplomats as ‘personae non gratae’

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 16, 2020 11:10

Gov’t decares two more Iranian diplomats as ‘personae non gratae’

Story Highlights

  • Albanian government sources told the Voice of America that the two diplomats are being expelled for activities against the Iranian opposition MEK group, being hosted in Albania. According to them, cultural attaché Seyed Ahmed Hosseini Alast had held senior positions in the Revolutionary Guard of the Islamic Republic and Mohamed Peimanemati was a member of Iran's Mois Operational Intelligence Unit and was responsible for several terrorist acts carried out in EU countries.

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TIRANA, Jan. 16 – Albanian authorities announced on Wednesday that they have ordered the expulsion from Albania of two Iranian diplomats who have been declared personae non gratae (unwanted persons).

The decision was announced by Acting Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj in a Facebook post.

According to him, both diplomats Mohammad Ali Arz Peimanemati and Seyed Ahmad Hosseini Alast have carried out “activities incompatible with their status and the principles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” 

“Two representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been urged to leave the territory of the Republic of Albania immediately,” wrote Cakaj.

Albanian government sources told the Voice of America that the two diplomats are being expelled for activities against the Iranian opposition MEK group, being hosted in Albania. According to them, cultural attaché Seyed Ahmed Hosseini Alast had held senior positions in the Revolutionary Guard of the Islamic Republic and Mohamed Peimanemati was a member of Iran’s Mois Operational Intelligence Unit and was responsible for several terrorist acts carried out in EU countries.

According to sources, they had been collaborators with Qassem Soleiman, Iran’s most powerful general whom the US assassinated on the first days of 2020.

This is the second time Albania has declared Iranian diplomats working and living in the country personae non gratae. 

In December 2018, Iran’s Ambassador to Albania and another embassy diplomat were expelled from the country after being suspected of being involved in “activities that threaten security in the country”. 

At that time, the Albanian Foreign Ministry specified that the decision had been taken in consultation with the Allied countries, due to their activity in Albania contrary to their diplomatic status.

Extremism expert Adrian Shtuni sees the move by the Albanian government as a defiant act against Iran’s recent statements concerning “a very small but devilish European state, where Americans cooperate with Iranian traitors against the Islamic Republic.” 

Shtuni says the fact that Albania houses 3,000 members of the Iranian opposition group MEK, after a deal first made with the US in 2013, puts the country at risk not because of the group’s current activities, but simply because of their status as active members of the Iranian regime’s opposition. 

The growing tension between the US and Iran after the assasination of Soleiman has also ignited friction between Iran and Albania, whose relations have not been the best ever since the country began hosting the opposition group. 

In a reaction to Voice of America, a MEK spokesman in Tirana referred to the statement on Twitter made by Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. She wrote that the expulsion from the government of Albania of two diplomats of the Iranian regime is a bold and admirable measure in combating terrorism and ensuring the security of the people of Albania and the Iranian refugees.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 16, 2020 11:10