On national security
grounds, Albania has expelled Iran’s ambassador and another diplomat. The two
diplomats were accused of “damaging its national security,” Albania's foreign
ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry said that the two diplomats were expelled for "violating their diplomatic status" following talks with other countries. Further information about what the diplomats were accused of was not immediately available.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed on Thursday the move was made under pressure from Israel and the United States.
“I believe that this is a step aimed at harming Iran’s ties with Europe at such a sensitive time,” the state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.
“Obviously this is a measure which has been taken under Israel and America’s pressure .... We expect Albania to respect its own independence,” he said.
Israel regards Iran as its most dangerous enemy and has backed U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision in May to abandon a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six powers. The US followed re-imposition of sanctions on Tehran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled last month a visit to Albania. Albanian media reported Thursday the cancellation could have been related to a possible plot against him in the aftermath of the two Iranian diplomats.
Saudi Arabia has commended Albania’s decision to expel two Iranian diplomats from the country due to their alleged “involvement in terrorist activities”.
A source in the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry said the Kingdom supported the decision by Albania to “expel the Iranian diplomats, one of whom was the ambassador, for their involvement in terrorist activities against Albania”.
The Albanian minister of foreign affairs spoke to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shortly after the announcement to expel the diplomats. Pompeo thanked the leadership for “taking up action against unacceptable diplomatic practice”.
US President Donald Trump sent a letter thanking the President of Albania for the move.
Trump's letter said the expulsion "exemplifies our joint efforts to show the Iranian government that its terrorist activities in Europe and around the world will have severe consequences."
Albania's move is a step towards awareness of countries around the world concerning the threat of Iran to the region and the whole world.