Iranian diplomats expelled from Bosnia over spying allegations

Bosnia inside the former YugoslaviaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In a move described as extremely rare, authorities in Bosnia have expelled two diplomats from Bosnian ally Iran over allegations that they are intelligence officers. However, the expulsion process took a while, which arguably reveals the complicated relationship between the two predominantly Muslim nations. The two diplomats were initially declared personae non grata in late April, when the Bosnian government ordered that they leave the country by April 30. According to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ministry of Security, the two envoys, Jadidi Sohrab and Hamzeh Dolab Ahmad, third and second secretaries respectively at the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Sarajevo, had engaged in activities that were “in violation of their diplomatic protocol”. Word has it that the Bosnian order was issued shortly after Israeli intelligence informed the Bosnians that the two Iranian diplomats were in fact employees of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MISIRI). The Israelis also said that one of the two men had been spotted in India, Georgia and Thailand, all of which were sites of a simultaneous bombing campaign in February of 2012 against Israeli interests —though there is no public evidence that he had an active role in the attacks. On May 9, however, Bosnian media reported that the two Iranian diplomats were still in Sarajevo, more than a week since the expiration of the deadline they had been given to leave the country. Why the delay? According to Dr. John Schindler, Iran watcher and professor of national security affairs at the United States Naval War College, the move to expel the two Iranians had been “stymied by the establishment” in Bosnia, which remains decidedly pro-Iranian. The strong bilateral links between Iran and Bosnia were solidified in the early 1990s, when Tehran, along with —ironically enough— America and its allies, provided funding, weapons and training to Muslim paramilitaries fighting in the Bosnian War. Now, however, Israel, America and Britain are concerned that Iran is using its strong security ties with Bosnia in order to form a base of European operations in Sarajevo. Interestingly, after considerable media pressure, the Bosnian government announced on May 14 that the two Iranians had indeed left the country. Shortly afterwards, Bosnian newspaper Dnevni Avaz, posted a series of pictures allegedly showing the two Iranian diplomats at the airport leaving the country. This has yet to be confirmed with absolute certainty; however, if the two Iranians have indeed been expelled, it will mark a new chapter in the history of relations between Bosnia and its closest Middle Eastern ally.

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6 Responses to Iranian diplomats expelled from Bosnia over spying allegations

  1. Paul says:

    Diplomat? Should that read ‘Revolutionary Guard’ or VEVAK officer?

  2. Pete says:

    @Joseph

    I don’t know whether this helps. Like most things in the Balkans the religious percentages in Bosnia are complex and confusing. The (online) CIA World Factbook lists Bosnia’s religious mix as Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 14%.

    Turning to ethnic mix we get: “Bosniak 48%, Serb 37.1%, Croat 14.3%, other 0.6% (2000)
    note: Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim – an adherent of Islam”

    So Christians may or may not be in the majority, but what is sure is that Christian Eastern Orthodox Serbs are often at odds with the Catholic Croats, though both have been known to gang up on the Muslims or is that Bosniak’s?

    Reflecting this three way mess is a three way rotating presidential system. The CIA advises the current Chairman of the Presidency is Nebojsa RADMANOVIC, a Serb. But the presidency will rotate to a Bosniak in a couple of months and then to a Croat eight months later.

    Regards

    Pete

  3. amir says:

    ‘Revolutionary Guard’ or VEVAK officer or profethional and international killer….that is true…

  4. Roger says:

    Bosnian Muslims do not support Iran, but some remaining extremists related to SDA Muslim nationalist party are still frendly to Iranians.

  5. Sal ibn Hari says:

    Considering the Bosniak Muslims are predominately Sunni and Iran Shia there’ll not be a lot of traffic between them.
    Iran hardly supports Sunni terror and this can be seen by their shunning of aQ, a mainly fundemental Sunni organisation. When Osama bin Laden asked for asylum for his extended family because of his aQ activities such was granted but they were shortly imprisoned after entering Iran.
    That is the extent of Iran’s assistance to ‘Muslim’ terror groups other than Shia. You may find that any Iranian assistance will be vectored through Saudi or UAE minority Shia of course, but such assistance will; be minimal.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Iranian leadership has proved their credibility as honest and worth believing. Today the Israelis are destroying the Jewish faith and giving bad name to Jews. The world is laughing at the , monotheistic faith of the three great religions. Certainly Allah is with those who are honest, human, just and not spread hatred among human race. From these basic rules today I find only few countries who are worth mentioning and Iran is on the top of this list.

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