Prime Minister Edi Rama has expelled two Iranian diplomats from Albania, including the Iranian Ambassador. According to Reuters, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declined to say when they were expelled and whether they left the country, but cited reasons of “damaging its national security.”
Several media outlets speculated that the security threats were related to the terror threat during the Albania–Israel World Cup qualifying match in 2016, or the fact that Albania houses the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) camp, which has led to intense debate between forces for and against the anti-Iranian government paramilitary group in exile.
The MEK has become increasingly the object of attention of US foreign policy makers as a result of the anti-Iranian policies pursued by the Trump administration.
US government officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, hailed the move of the Albanian government:
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. We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) December 19, 2018
I commend PM Edi Rama’s expulsion of two Iranian agents who plotted terrorist attacks in #Albania. European nations have thwarted three Iranian plots this year alone. The world must stand together to sanction #Iran’s regime until it changes its destructive behavior.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 19, 2018