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. Read more of this post