Bosnia expels two Iranian diplomats

Minister of security declares Iranian embassy secretaries "persona non grata"; unclear involvement in past terrorist plots.

Thailand blast 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Thailand blast 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The government of Bosnia ordered two Iranian diplomats to leave the Balkan country by the end of the month because they violated diplomatic protocol.
A Serbian-language paper in Sarajevo, Voice of Serbia, reported on Friday that Bosnia’s Security Ministry sent a request to the Foreign Ministry to expel the second- and third-ranking diplomats at the Iranian Embassy in Sarajevo.
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.
The diplomats, Hamzeh Dolab Ahmad and Jadidi Sohrab, the second and third secretaries at the embassy, appear to work for the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MISIRI).
Fahrudin Radoncic, minister of security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, declared the Iranians persona non grata because their conduct violated diplomatic rules. Radoncic did not provide greater specificity for expelling the Iranians. It is unclear if either of the Iranian diplomats was involved in the terrorist plots against Israelis in Thailand, Georgia and India.
The Bosnian paper wrote that “according to unofficial information,” Ahmad and Sohrab were members of the Iranian secret intelligence and were connected to terrorist activities in Bosnia.
In a lengthy article on the website of World Affairs in the January/February edition, Gordon N. Bardos wrote that last August, “the American and British ambassadors to Sarajevo reportedly warned Bosnian officials to cut their ties to Iran, and a former international high representative in Bosnia publicly lectured the Bosnians about how their future lay with the European Union, not with Tehran.
The motive for such actions became clear in September when the Sarajevo newspaper Dnevni Avaz claimed that pro- Iranian factions in the Bosnian government were reactivating para-intelligence cells tied to the Islamist regime of the late Bosnian leader Alija Izetbegovic.”
According to Bardos’s report, the news magazine Slobodna Bosna reported that “200 Iranian ‘businessmen’ had been granted visas to enter Bosnia in the first six months of 2012 along with an unnamed Iranian diplomat whom Israeli intelligence officials have tracked in Thailand, Georgia and India – all places in which Israeli citizens have been attacked in the last year.”