Tirana (Times Of Ocean)- Albania’s Special Prosecution announced on Friday that Iranian national Bijan Pooladrag would face charges of serving and collaborating with terrorism-related individuals and spying.
Pooladrag could face up to 10 years in prison for the first charge, and up to 15 years for the second charge if found guilty. It is suspected that he is a spy for the Iranian secret services and is listening in on the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, MEK, an exiled opposition group from Iran that moved to Albania on the advice of the US in 2013.
Albania has reported several issues between suspected Iranian agents and the MEK since it decided to host the opposition group on its territory.
Several Iranians were named by police as members of a terrorist cell planning to attack MEK members based in Albania in 2019, and in 2018, the Iranian ambassador in Tirana and another diplomat were expelled for an alleged terrorist plot that has not been divulged.
The MEK has a controversial reputation. MEK was founded in 1965 as an Islamo-leftist opposition to the former Shah’s regime, it turned against the Islamic Republic after the 1979 Revolution.
In 1997, the US listed it as a terrorist organization, but it was removed from the blacklist in 2012 after it renounced violence.
US authorities listed MEK as a terrorist organization in 1997, but removed it from the blacklist in 2012 after it allegedly renounced violence.
The group is building an extended compound in central Albania to host its members, while the rest live in Tirana or have emigrated.
Some of the members of the group appear to live a quiet life in Albania, despite the fact that the Iranian government still considers them active enemies.