Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama called out the “blind brutality” and “malicious activity” of the Iranian regime after its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared to threaten his country online.
Khamenei took to Twitter last week to call out “a small European country” where “mercenaries and traitors joined some foreigners and tried to conspiracy against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
His tweet was understood as a reference to Albania, which has hosted Iranian refugees including members of the Mujahideen al-Khalq (MEK) group who fled from persecution in the Islamic Republic, initially to Iraq. They were resettled to Albania under a UN program in the years 2013-2016.
“Albania gave shelter to the so-called ‘traitors’ that mister Khamenei wants to kill. They came to Albania through a humanitarian operation coordinated with the United States,” Rama told Al Arabiya English, adding that Albania had a long history of humanitarianism.
Khamenei’s words were “simply one more example of the blind brutality of the Tehran regime,” said Rama.
Rama also called out Iran’s “brutal dictatorship” for planning “malicious activity” in Albania. Last October, Albanian authorities discovered an Iranian terrorist paramilitary network allegedly planning attacks on the MEK in the country.
“When you listen to how Mr. Khamenei unleashes his tongue towards our small country, it’s not difficult to find the answer,” when asked who was behind the attacks and whom they were targeting, said Rama.
Albania expelled Iran’s ambassador and another diplomat for “damaging its national security” in October 2018.
“Our relations with Iran are at [their] lowest level ever, because of the malicious activity within our territory of top Iranian diplomats that we had to expel,” explained Rama, who added that “we expect everything from those guys” in reference to the possibility of Tehran planning future attacks.
Rama added that Albania supported the US and its regional allies in confronting Iran, amid escalating tensions following Iranian missile attacks on military bases in Iraq.
“We strongly support United States and President Trump in showing to the Tehran regime that enough is enough,” said Rama.
“We very much hope Iranian leaders will choose peace and respect of others, instead of malicious activities, threats towards the others and pain inflicted to its own population,” he added.
Matthew Amlôt, Al Arabiya English, contributed to this article.