Albania. Authorities expel all Iranian diplomats and embassy staff from September 7

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Sep 07, 2022 | 16:54 UTC

Albania expels all Iranian diplomats and embassy staff on September 7; disruption of consular services almost certain.

Communications Technology

legal

ALB

Event

Since September 7, the Albanian government has severed diplomatic relations with Iran and ordered all Iranian diplomats and embassy staff to leave the country within 24 hours. Authorities in Tirana said the decision came in response to an alleged Iranian cyberattack on government infrastructure, which was allegedly aimed at crippling public services and stealing government data. It remains unclear whether any foreign companies were targeted in the alleged cyberattack.

Retaliatory diplomatic actions against Albania are possible. Further Iranian-backed cyberattacks against Albanian infrastructure could occur in the medium term.

The context

The cyberattack took place on July 15, several days before the Free Iran World Summit (FIWS) scheduled near Durres, Albania on July 23-24. FIWS was organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), which advocate for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Its organizers canceled the FIWS for security reasons. The alleged cyberattack is likely linked to the FIWS.

The Iranian government classifies the MEK as a terrorist organization and has reportedly blacklisted several dozen US officials for allegedly supporting the group. An estimated 3,000 MEK members live in exile in Albania. Albanian police say they have thwarted Iranian attacks targeting exiled dissidents in recent years.

Tips

Reconfirm appointments at the Iranian Embassy in Tirana. Contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for information on alternative arrangements for consular services for Iranian nationals in Albania and people wishing to travel between Albania and Iran.

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