The government of Bosnia- Herzegovina declined to deport two alleged Iranian
spies working as diplomats from its territory, after last month ordering the
eviction of the two men.
News organizations in Bosnia reported in April
that Fahrudin Radoncic, minister of security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, declared
the Iranians persona non grata because their conduct violated diplomatic
“Bosnia tells Iranian spies to leave to no avail,” John Schindler,
a US counter-terrorism expert, wrote in his blog on Tuesday.
In his blog
(The XX committee), Schindler wrote that the Glas Srpske daily, based in the
city of Banja Lukam reported on Friday that the two Iranians – Hamzeh Dolab
Ahmad and Jadidi Sohrab – were still in Bosnia.
In a telephone interview
with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, Schindler said Iran’s network was
established in Bosnia more than 20 years ago. “It is deep in the institutions”
and the minister of security did “the right thing but is being stymied by the
establishment,” he said.
“Given the worrying extent of Iranian subversion
and espionage in Bosnia, including direct links to terrorism – ... Sarajevo had
done nothing of substance to diminish Iranian espionage and support for
terrorism in Bosnia since the mid- 1990s, and even that consisted of
half-measures,” Schindler wrote.
Asked why the alleged spies were allowed
to stay in Bosnia beyond the end of April deadline set by the security minister,
Jasmin Gagula, a spokeswoman for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Foreign Ministry,
wrote the Post on Wednesday, “This case is in the procedure. Because of
the sensitivity and diplomatic nature of the case we can not give you more
Schindler, a top expert on Iranian activities in the
Balkans, wrote that “Bosnia’s security minister Fahrudin Radoncic is the first
person in that job to take Iran’s misdeeds seriously. He seems to have been
pushed to action by revelations that Iranian ‘diplomats’ in Sarajevo were making
regular trips to known mujahidin camps in the country, bringing cash and best
Israeli intelligence officials apparently warned Bosnian
officials about an “unnamed Iranian diplomat” who was present in Thailand,
Georgia and India, where Israelis faced terrorist attacks in 2011. It is unclear
if one of the two diplomats believed to be spying in Bosnia is the unnamed envoy
of concern to Israeli intelligence because of links to terrorist
Schindler wrote that “the Ministry of Security’s order,
conveyed to Tehran through Foreign Ministry channels, stated that Hamzeh Dolab
Ahmad and Jadidi Sohrab, the second and the third secretaries in the Embassy of
the Islamic Republic of Iran in Sarajevo, were to leave Bosnia by 30 April.
Ahmad and Sohrab had been identified as Iranian intelligence officers by Bosnian
security officials beyond any reasonable doubt, with connections to known
extremists in Bosnia.”
Glas Srpske’s investigation reported that Bakir
Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina’s joint presidency,
intervened to advance the interests of the Iranians.