Terror threat cancels Iranian opposition summit in Albania
TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Iranian dissidents in Albania said Friday they had canceled a summit following warnings from local authorities of a possible terrorist threat.
Some 3,000 Iranian dissidents from the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, better known as the MEK, live at Camp Ashraf 3 in Manez, 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of the Albanian capital, Tirana.
They had planned to hold the Free Iran World Summit in their camp on July 23 and 24 with the participation of American senators and congressmen and other former personalities from Western countries to “call on the Biden administration to adopt a decisive policy against the regime in Tehran”.
A statement from the camp said the summit has been “postponed until further notice on the recommendations of the Albanian government, for security reasons and due to terrorist threats and conspiracies”.
Albanian authorities did not respond to questions about the threat.
The US Embassy in Tirana has warned its citizens that it is “aware of a potential threat targeting the Free Iran Global Summit”, calling on its citizens “to avoid this event”.
Shahin Gobadi, the Iranians’ Paris-based spokesman, also referred to “the plot to blow up the Free Iran Grand Rally on June 30, 2018 in Paris by one of its active diplomats, Assadollah Assadi”.
Last year, Assadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Belgium for orchestrating a foiled bomb attack on exiled Iranian opposition group MEK in France.
The Mujahedeen-e-Khalq began as a Marxist group opposing the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He supported the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but soon fell out with Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and turned against his clerical government, leading a series of assassinations and bombings in the Islamic Republic.
The MEK then fled to Iraq and supported dictator Saddam Hussein during his bloody eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s, leading many in Iran to oppose the group. Although now largely based in Albania, the group claims to operate a network inside Iran.