Iranian Diplomats in Bosnia, Jadidi Sohrab & Hamzeh Doolab, Declared Persona Non Grata
Despite all the fanfare surrounding new Iran President Hassan Rouhani, for the moment it looks as if the West’s closed diplomatic doors to Iran will remain basically shut – at least until the new team delivers on its promises. And so Tehran can be expected to continue searching desperately for windows of opportunity in countries it views as especially vulnerable.
In this context, it should not come as a surprise that Iran often tries its luck in areas boasting local Moslem populations whether they are Shiite or Sunni, in the Balkans or the Caucasus.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Tehran’s potential “victims” are naïve as to its intentions. Consider Bosnia-Herzegovina, for instance. The historical ties between Iran and Bosnia grew significantly thanks to former Bosnian President (and Islamic fundamentalist) Alija Izetbegovic, reportedly on Tehran’s payroll. It was widely believed that Iran’s influence since then was increasing.
That is, up until a few months ago. In May 2013, two Iranian diplomats, Jadidi Sohrab and Hamzeh Dolab Ahmad, were expelled from Sarajevo and declared persona non grata for activities “in violation of their diplomatic protocol“. In fact, Sohrab and Ahmad were employed by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS) and were intelligence officers suspected of involvement in subversion activities. A third diplomat, Muhsin Bayat Giashi, was expelled in June 2013 for violating immigration laws. As if to admit its wrongdoing, Tehran apparently has not taken reciprocal measures against Sarajevo.
Bosnia, like other states formed after the breakup of Yugoslavia, seeks to join the EU in the future and has aligned itself with EU policy in a host of areas (despite some lingering difficulties). For some reason, the expelled Iranian diplomats did not understand they were operating in hostile territory. Now they – and their superiors – know better.
- Iranian Diplomatic Infrastructure for Terrorism in Germany? (part 1) (shadows-of-diplomacy.com)
- Iranian Diplomatic Infrastructure for Subversion in Germany? (part 2) (shadow-diplomacy.com)