Albanian police on Wednesday claimed that they had foiled planned attacks by Iranian agents against an exiled terrorist group living in Albania, but several former members of the group have come forward to reveal that they are the real individuals being accused of the plot.
Since 2014, some 3,000 MKO members have settled in a camp in Albania after being transferred by the US from Iraq. Earlier this week, Albanian authorities claimed that they had discovered an active cell of the Iranian Quds Force and prevented their "plan of March 2018" to attack the camp.
In March 2018, two people were held in Albania but set free for lack of evidence. At the time, an opposition leader denounced the announcement as a ploy by Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama to divert attention from Tirana’s failure to start entry talks with the European Union.
The accusation was similar to those made against Iran in Europe, including by France in October 2018 which accused Tehran of plotting to attack an annual MKO rally outside Paris.
The timing of the accusations was suspicious. They came as European governments apparently sought to save a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran after the US abandoned the agreement.
From the outset, Tehran vehemently dismissed the claims as false flag operations, while those detained in connection with the alleged plots were released later due to lack of evidence.
On Saturday, a Canadian-Albanian historian released a video of his interview with several individuals who said they had defected the MKO, but were now being framed by the terrorist group as Iranian agents sent to attack the camp near Durres, Albania's main port.
Dr. Olsi Jazexhi, who carried out the interview, explained that a “cold war” is underway in Albania between former MKO members and the ringleaders of the terrorist organization.
Jazexhi, who specializes in the history of Islam, nationalism and religious reformation in Southeastern Europe, described those speaking in the interview as former terrorists who have abandoned terrorism against Iran and decided to lead a civilian life.
He has already aired a TV show called the “Opinion” in Albania, which said the MKO runs its own secret service in the impoverished European country, and that it spies on former members of the organization who live there.
A former member of the MKO in the video, labelled as an agent of Iran, is heard saying, “I don’t want to fight anything, any side. I want my own life, personal life, civilian life and I don’t want to fight."
"For this reason, the MKO does not want us to live here. They put pressure on us to leave this country because if another member in the MKO comes out for anything or any work and see us we have a free [life], maybe they want to come out and have a free life. For this they make fake news against us, accuse us of being agents and mercenary of Iran,” the man says.
Last year, Albania expelled two Iranian diplomats suspected of “involvement in activities that harm the country’s security.”
Iran denounced the expulsions, saying Albania has fallen prey to a scenario fabricated by the US and Israel and certain terrorist groups.
The MKO has carried out numerous attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials over the past three decades and is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community.
Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist assaults since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.
Source: Press TV