Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Albania's decision to expel the Iranian ambassador and another diplomat for plotting acts of terrorism within the country has been widely praised. President Trump has written personally to Prime Minister Edi Rama congratulating him for countering Iran's "destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe." His letter was reinforced by messages of support from U.S. national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The expulsion has focused world attention once again on how the mullahs' regime uses its embassies as terror cells.
The Iranian regime was outraged when Albania courageously agreed to rescue over 2,500 Iranian refugees from the camps where they had been incarcerated and abused in Iraq. They had been under constant military assault and rocket attacks. The defenseless refugees are members of the main Iranian democratic opposition movement, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The Islamic Republic of Iran had ordered the puppet government in Iraq to annihilate these dissident Iranians and 168 had been murdered and over 1,700 wounded, some severely, by the time the Albanians agreed to offer the survivors a safe haven in Tirana. The first airlifts began in 2013 and by 2016 all 2,500 refugees had arrived in Albania.
The mullahs were appalled at the airlift and the fact that the Iranian dissidents had escaped to safety. Their attempts to liquidate the MEK had been thwarted. They could not allow these political opponents, who offer a democratic future of freedom and justice to the oppressed millions in Iran, to set up a new home in Albania. The regime turned its full focus on Albania. The formerly tiny Iranian embassy in Albania was transformed into one of the regime's largest embassies in the Balkans. In early 2016, as the MEK members were being flown to Albania in groups, Tehran sent a new ambassador, Gholam Hossein Mohammadinia, to Albania. Mohammadinia is a former high-ranking Iranian intelligence official and was also a member of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team before accepting the appointment in Albania. His main mandate in Tirana was to implement the regime's terrorist plots against the MEK. He is the person who has now been exposed as a terrorist and expelled by Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama.
Under Mohammadinia's guidance, in March 2018, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) plotted to detonate a bomb at a Nowruz (Iranian New Year) gathering of MEK members in Tirana. Luckily this attempted atrocity was uncovered and foiled at the last minute and was subsequently revealed by Prime Minister Edi Rama on April 19th, 2018. Two MOIS agents were expelled as a result of this failed terror bid.
Nevertheless, the Iranian embassy in Tirana has become the focus of an expanding nest of 25 intelligence agents and spies, including Mostafa Roodaki, another senior intelligence official who was brought in as First Secretary. He is the person who was previously the head of the Iranian regime's intelligence station in Austria and had been coordinating activities against the PMOI in Europe. Although the name of the second diplomat expelled from Albania has not yet been disclosed, it is most likely to be this very senior and sinister terror expert.
Roodaki was replaced in Austria by Assadullah Assadi, another 'so-called' diplomat, who was arrested in Germany in July 2018 after he had delivered a 50 gm bomb to two Iranian agents and instructed them to detonate it at a large gathering of Iranians in Paris. Assadi was extradited to Belgium and is now awaiting trial on terrorism charges. In October 2018, the regime sent another senior intelligence agent -- Mohammad Davoudzadeh Lului -- with close ties to the Iranian embassy and its ambassador in Norway, to assassinate an opposition figure in Denmark. He too now awaits trial on terrorism charges. Also, in 2018 two 'so-called' Iranian diplomats were expelled from the Netherlands for acts of terror.
Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama has shown the world that his country will not be bullied by the tyrants from Tehran. He bravely stepped up to the plate by rescuing the Iranian refugees from almost certain death in Iraq, when no other EU country was prepared to help, frightened that by doing so they could lose lucrative contracts with the Iranian mullahs. Once again Edi Rama has shown Europe the way to deal with the Iranian thugs and terrorists. The EU should follow suit and close down Iran's terror-cell embassies.
Struan Stevenson is the Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CiC). He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and is also president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)