Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Saudi Arabia praises Albania's expulsion of Iranian diplomats

The Iranian ambassador was one of two diplomats declared personae non gratae

Albania has expelled two Iranian diplomats for allegedly harming its national security. EPA
Albania has expelled two Iranian diplomats for allegedly harming its national security. EPA

Saudi Arabia has commended Albania’s decision to expel two Iranian diplomats from the country due to their alleged “involvement in terrorist activities”.

Albania's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said 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.

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. Mr Pompeo thanked the leadership for “taking up action against unacceptable diplomatic practice”.

The source told the state-run Saudi Press Agency that Saudi Arabia “has repeatedly stressed the seriousness of Iranian support for terrorism and the need of the international community to deal with it firmly.”

US President Donald Trump sent a letter thanking the President of Albania for the move.

Mr 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."

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Iran blamed the US and Israel for the expulsions. The Iranian state news agency, IRNA, quoted foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying that "Albania has become an unintentional victim of the United States, Israel and some terrorist groups".

Private Albanian television station Top Channel reported that the Iranians were suspected of "illegal activities" relating to a World Cup qualifying match between Albania and Israel two years ago.

In October, Denmark accused Tehran of planning to assassinate an Iranian activist on Danish soil. Denmark recalled its ambassador to Iran.

Albania does not have an embassy in Iran.

Updated: December 23, 2018 05:08 PM

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