Tirana’s Tiff With Tehran
Albania, the Muslim-majority country in southern Europe and a NATO member, announced on September 7, 2022 that it snapped diplomatic ties with Iran.
As Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania, asked all the Iranian diplomats to leave Tirana in the next 24 hours, officials of the Iranian Embassy left for the airport in two cars on September 8. However, they burnt all the important documents inside the Embassy premises before leaving the country.
Reuters reported that the Anti-Terrorism Police of Albania conducted a raid in the Embassy, after the Iranian officials vacated the place. The Police personnel stayed there for a long time. A Reuters reporter claimed that he saw documents being burnt, and smoke coming out from the Embassy building.
According to sources close to the Government of Albania, Tirana snapped diplomatic ties with Tehran, as Iran carried out a cyber attack on Albania in July. The Albanian investigators found Iran’s involvement in the cyber attack. In a video message, Prime Minister Rama stated that his Government decided to sever ties with the Islamic Republic at this moment. He stressed that the cyber attack posed a risk of shutting down Government services.
It may be noted that diplomatic ties between Albania and Iran have always been tense. Albania had sheltered nearly 3,000 members of banned Iranian outfit People’s Mujahideen Group in 2014. Later, Iran made an attempt to launch a cyber attack on Albania. However, Tirana claimed that Tehran had failed to launch the attack. The US, too, has claimed that Iran had launched a major cyber attack on Albania on July 15.
Meanwhile, Iran has denied the allegation, stressing that Albania and the US made a baseless allegation against the Islamic Republic. The West Asian nation has warned that Tirana would have to pay a heavy price for snapping diplomatic ties with Tehran.
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