- The Washington Times
Thursday, December 20, 2018


TIRANA, Albania — It may not have been big news in the West, but it’s worth noting and praising Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s recent decision to expel two Iranian diplomats, including the ambassador, from this tiny Balkan country. The stated reason was for activity “damaging to [Albania’s] national security.”

That ranks as a major understatement.

Tehran has continued to run terrorist operations out of its diplomatic installations around the world, despite being recently caught red-handed conducting lethal operations against civilians in multiple countries. It is a criminal, malignant cancer of a regime bent on exporting its medieval and corrupt dogma throughout the Middle East and the world, while it systemically represses its own people, even stealing the water they drink.

The regime is running murderous intelligence operations on Albanian territory as this is being written against the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian exile resistance group given safe harbor by the Albanian government. The refuge here dates back to the Clinton State Department, after merciless killings of defenseless members of the group in Iraq by Iranian, or Iranian-backed, forces.

The Iranian terror network has targeted Americans, including MEK supporters former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor (and close Trump legal adviser) Rudy Giuliani. Iran’s two most recent assassination plots against the MEK itself include a foiled March mission to bomb the MEK compound here and a plot this past summer when Iranian diplomats were caught supplying bomb-making materials to a European-based sleeper cell ahead of a major MEK gathering in Paris.

The Iranian diplomat involved in the Paris attack remains in a European jail awaiting trial.

Albania’s expulsion of the Iranian diplomats was most likely conducted after pressure from the Trump administration, as it seeks to ramp up action against the regime’s malign activity worldwide. However, it is also exactly the right thing to do and the Rama government deserves praise for the action.

Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group of anti-regime Iranian groups, praised Albania’s decision to expel both the ambassador and the Iranian Intelligence Ministry’s station chief in Tirana. Iran’s rulers must be shown that “their terrorist activities in Europe and across the world will have serious consequences,” Mrs. Rajavi said this week.

The fact that the Iran’s ruling mullahs are willing to commit murder in such flagrant fashion on foreign soil, risking global condemnation, shows how much they fear the MEK. If, as some critics insist, the resistance group is simply a ragtag group of aging Iranian rebels, slowly wasting away on foreign soil, why would Tehran follow such a risk-laden policy? As Mr. Giuliani said at the MEK event in Paris in June, “If the MEK was not a threat to the regime, why are they trying so hard to kill them?”

Sad to say, Europe is complicit in all of this, as leading EU nations continue to seek ways to prop of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and preserve their commercial interests with Tehran.

Give nuclear weapons to a murderous cabal of religious fanatics? Who cares, as long as we can make money? As Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles that can reach European capitals, that seems an awfully short-sighted view of the world. But — oh, I forgot — they have that American missile defense system to protect them. So all is good in Brussels.

Still, viewing things from Tirana, it’s clear that the Iranian regime in growing increasingly desperate.

Iran is responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of Americans over the decades, through terror attacks it sponsored, or through Iranian-backed militias on the battlefields of the Middle East. The Obama administration completely appeased these thugs in religious garb. Some Obama alumnae, including former Secretary of State John Kerry and former White House security aide Ben Rhodes, are still trying to make the case for the supposedly benign intentions of the mullahs’ regime.

Thankfully, we finally have a president willing to stand up to the Iranians and their enablers, and make them worry about their own very survival. And I’m thankful that Prime Minister Rama joined President Trump and decided to do the right thing.

⦁ L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, the New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached through his website, LToddWood.com.

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