US praises Albania for expelling Iranian ambassador | News | DW | 20.12.2018
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US praises Albania for expelling Iranian ambassador

Tirana has expelled two Iranian diplomats for "violating their diplomatic status." The two countries have been at loggerheads after Albania took in thousands of members of an Iranian opposition group in 2016.

Albania expelled Iran's ambassador and another diplomat on Wednesday citing national security concerns.

Albania's Foreign Ministry said Tirana had consulted with its international allies on the matter, adding that the two diplomats were expelled for "violating their diplomatic status."

US national security adviser John Bolton said he supported the decision.

"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 said in a Twitter post. "We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran's reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe."

Bolton was a key player in his president's decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran.

Read more: Raids across Germany target suspected Iranian spies

Albania has been at loggerheads with Iran since it took in about 3,000 members of the banned Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (People's Mujahedin of Iran), known as MEK.

The Paris-based MEK seeks to overthrow Iran's theocratic government and is widely disliked inside the country, where it is labeled a terrorist organization. The Iranian government blamed the group for stirring up unrest earlier this month.

Formerly listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, the MEK has also been accused of carrying out covert operations on behalf of Israel and the United States. Iran has been linked to the assassination of multiple dissidents, mostly Kurds and MEK members, throughout Europe.  

Read more: Foiled bomb plot distracts from Iranian President Rouhani's message in Europe

aw/sms (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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