Who Are The Two Iranian Diplomats Expelled from Albania?

Getting information about the two Iranian diplomats that were recently expelled by the Albanian government

The Albanian Foreign Ministry expelled two Iranian diplomat terrorists on Wednesday for activities "not in line with their status", a phrase often used in espionage cases.

Acting Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj issued a statement on social media, where he identified the diplomats in as Mohammad Ali Arzpeima Nemati and Seyed Ahmad Hosseini Alast.

Albanian TV station Top Channel reported that these two had “direct ties to the former Quds Supreme Commander, General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by the USA” on January 3.

Cakaj said: "The two representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been asked to depart immediately from the territory of the Republic of Albania."

Iran’s official Mehr news agency that keeps strong ties to the country’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), wrote that Albania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked two Iranian diplomats, to leave the country on “vague reasons.” The agency added that “Since long ago, Albania has been the host country to the MEK.” 

But who were these two “diplomats”? 

Mohammad-Ali Arzpeyma Nemati, an MOIS officer sent to Albania in 2018 to reinforce the MOIS station in the country along with Mostapha Roodaki, his predecessor who was expelled a little more than a years ago from Albania.  

Arzpeyma worked in Tehran in the Presidential system as an MOIS agent and was sent to Albania in December 2018.  

Roodaki was expelled from Albania in December 2018 following a foiled terrorist attack planned by the MOIS and the IRGC Quds force against a MEK gathering. Arzpeyma took over his sinister job and continued with his plans against the MEK.  

Ahmad Hosseini Alast is an agent of the regime’s Islamic Culture and Communications Organization (ICCO) 

The ICCO is nominally tied to the regime's Ministry of Culture and Guidance. However, in reality, it is directly connected to the Supreme Leader's office and operates specifically on the basis of Khamenei's orders and the decisions adopted by the Supreme Policy Council. 

According to its charter, the main goals and duties of this organization consist of exporting fundamentalism, recruitment, espionage, and export of terrorism abroad, as well as activities against the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and the Iranian Resistance. 

Hosseini Alast was the regime’s cultural attaché in the latter’s embassy in Bulgaria for four years, and then desk officer for Eastern Europe and Germany in the ICCO for eleven years. He was transferred to Albania in 2016 as a cultural attaché.  During visits to Iran, he was frequently briefed by IRGC’s Quds force on the MEK.  

When in Bulgaria, Hosseini had recruited 18 local citizens and sent them to the city of Qom in Iran to study religious courses and becoming mullahs.  

In October 2019, Albanian authorities disclosed information about a terrorist cell-directed from Tehran to carry terrorist attack against the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Albania.   

According to the statement released by the Director of State Police, Ardi Veliu, “A terrorist network led by the Iranian regime has been discovered in Albania. The target of the network was to carry out attacks on the Iranian opposition movement (MEK).” 

An active terrorist cell of the Iranian Quds Forces External Operations Unit was discovered by Albanian Security Institutions. It was run by a Quds Force operative that directs, from Tehran, operations in Albania and elsewhere in Central and Western Europe. Among other things, he initiated and implemented a foiled attack in March 2018 against the MEK.  

The Iranian ambassador, as well as the embassy’s head of intelligence, were dismissed from Albania following the foiled attempt. 

Also on Wednesday, Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a coalition of Iranian opposition groups with the MEK as its biggest member, issued a statement about the expulsion of the Iranian diplomats.

She described the expulsion as a “courageous and admirable” step in combating terrorism and ensuring the safety of the Albanian people and Iranian refugees, before encouraging other countries to follow Albania’s lead.

Rajavi explained that Iranian embassies have become hotbeds for spying and terrorism, noting that most diplomats are either “members of the Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), or have been trained as terrorists and spies and serve the two agencies”.

She said: “As the people of Iran have taken to the streets these days, calling for the overthrow of the clerical regime, the need for the adoption of a decisive policy against the regime’s terrorism and closing down of their embassies has become ever greater.”

On January 8, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, reeling from the nationwide uprising that erupted in November, lashed out at the MEK and insulted Albania. He was strongly rebuked by Albanian President Ilir Meta, who called the regime’s missile attacks on US bases in Iraq “provocative” and “dangerous” and said Iran must respect international agreements, international laws, and its obligations.

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