Bosnia expels alleged Iranian spies

Back and forth over removal of Iranian diplomats; report asserts they had contact with Bosnian Wahhabist leader.

May 19, 2013 02:42
1 minute read.
Fahrudin Radoncic minister of security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Fahrudin Radoncic minister of security of Bosnia 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Danilo Krstanovic)

BERLIN – Bosnia’s government expelled two Iranians last week for espionage, after having set a deadline of late April for the action.

John R. Schindler, a professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College, cited a report on his blog XX Committee by the Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz that the two Iranians Hamzeh Doolab Ahmad and Jadidi Sohrab are no longer in Bosnia. Schindler, who has closely followed and written about the case of the alleged Iranian spies, wrote, “ I am happy to report that the Bosnian Ministry of Security has announced that the two Iranian ‘diplomats in question’ have now left the territory of Bosnia and Hercegovina.”

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Dnevni Avaz showed photographs of the Iranian diplomats departing Bosnia. The Sarajevo paper wrote that the Bosnian security ministry declared the two Iranians “personae non gratae” and said “they have used their diplomatic status for activities incompatible with their diplomatic functions and the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.”

Israeli intelligence officials notified Bosnian officials about an “unnamed Iranian diplomat” who was present in Thailand, Georgia and India, where Israelis faced terrorist attacks in 2011. It could not be verified if one of the two diplomats believed to be spying in Bosnia is the suspected envoy of concern to Israeli counter-terrorism officials.

The Jerusalem Post
reported in early May that Bosnia’s government appeared to backpedal from its April 30 eviction order to the Iranians because both men remained in Bosnia. Schindler, a US counterterrorism expert, drew attention to Bosnia’s decision to not eject the Iranians on his popular intelligence blog.

The AFP reported on Friday that a source at the Bosnia security ministry who asked not to be named said the two Iranians were believed to have conducted “spying and [carrying out] other suspicious activities against the [Bosnian] constitution.”

The Iranians served as the embassy’s second and third secretary and had contacts with Nusret Imamovic,” a leader of Bosnian followers of Wahhabism, an ultra-orthodox form of Sunni Islam prevalent in Saudi Arabia, wrote the AFP. The French wire service cited its source as asserting that the Iranians’ contact with Imamovic is considered espionage.

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