Albania Severs Diplomatic Ties With Iran
Albania cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Wednesday. Iranian diplomats and embassy staff must leave within 24 hours. Prime Minister Edi Rama said the move responded to a cyber attack that hit Albania in July.
Rama said the attack could have wholly flattened the country. “The attack threatened, among other things, to paralyze government services, wipe digital systems and give access to state data,” the prime minister said. According to him, Iran aimed to increase Albania’s chaos and insecurity. “It was very drastic. That requires a hard response from our side.”
The United States supports Albania’s action. “Our ally has been the victim of an unprecedented cyber incident,” said a spokesman for the National Security Council. “We, too, have concluded that Iran carried out this reckless and irresponsible attack. We will support Albania in repairing the damage and conducting further investigations.”
Albania and Iran have been at odds since 2014 after several incidents. In that year, for example, Albania admitted about 3,000 members of an Iranian opposition group into exile. Albania has said it has thwarted several planned attacks by Iranian secret agents against this group.