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Iran voices concern about reports of Albanian police trespassing into its embassy

Albanian police officers enter the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on September 8, 2022, after Albania cut ties with Tehran and ordered diplomats to leave Tirana. (Photo by Reuters)

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has voiced concern about reports of inappropriate conduct of Albanian authorities toward the Iranian embassy and its staff in the capital, Tirana, saying Albania will be responsible for any acts of violation against the Islamic Republic’s diplomatic mission in the Balkan country.

Nasser Kan’ani, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, made the remark on Thursday after media reports said Albanian police forces had illegally entered the Iranian embassy in Tirana and conducted search operations in the empty diplomatic mission following the severance of ties between the two countries.

Albanian special police forces, wearing masks and helmets and carrying automatic rifles, were said to have violated the compound of Iran’s diplomatic mission after two cars with diplomatic plates had left.

The reports said the Albanian police were inside the diplomatic mission for 30 minutes and searched the building which still flew the Iranian flag.

“If the reports by media outlets are true, this was a behavior contrary to international law and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Rights,” Kan’ani said.

He added that Iran holds the Albanian government accountable for any act of violation targeting its embassy in Tirana.

Under international law, embassies and consulates receive special protection and immunity and are regarded as the territory or “soil” of the sending state.

The trespassing took place a day after Albania, which has for years hosted anti-Iran terrorists in collusion with the US, severed diplomatic ties with Tehran, accusing it of orchestrating a July “cyberattack” against Tirana.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama ordered Iranian diplomats and embassy staff to leave within 24 hours, following a so-called investigation into the alleged cyberattack.

On Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman denounced Albania’s decision to sever diplomatic relations with Iran as “injudicious” and “lacking in foresight.”

Kan’ani also termed allegations leveled against Tehran as “baseless” and “unsubstantiated,” while blaming “third parties” for Albania’s decision to cut ties with Iran.

He identified the United States, the Israeli regime, and the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), an anti-Iran terrorist group that has been hosted by Albania since 2016, as the “third parties” that have propelled Tirana into taking the decision.

The spokesman also said that as one of the victims of rampant cyberattacks, the Islamic Republic condemns any use of cyberspace toward infringement on other countries’ vital infrastructures.

Albania took in around 3,000 members of the MKO terrorist group in 2016 at the request of Washington, after the group was disowned by Iraq and snubbed by many European countries.

The anti-Iran terrorist group based in Albania has carried out numerous acts of terrorism on Iranian soil since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, killing senior political leaders, clerics and thousands of ordinary civilians.

The European Union, Canada, the United States, and Japan had previously listed the MKO as a “terrorist organization.” In 2012, however, the group was taken off the US list of terrorist organizations. The EU followed the suit, removing the group from its list of terrorist organizations.

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