Spirit of Visit of Albania's FM to Iran Constructive
By Genc Mlloja
Albanian Daily News
Published July 3, 2017
Albania was present in a meeting held in Paris on July 1 by the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation (MEK), with a delegation led by Socialist Party deputy and former Premier Pandeli Majko, including also Deputy Interior Minister and lawmaker Elona Gjebrea and the head of the Republican Party and lawmaker, Fatmir Mediu.
This year's meeting in Paris was called "Free Iran" by the organizers, held for the Iranian dissidents living in the West. The Albanian deputies, who have been re-elected in the new 140- member Parliament on June 25, 2017, joined voices in their speeches with the slogan to topple down the current government in Tehran.
"The Iranian Diaspora demands a change of regime, while western policies towards Iran have been softer for the past four decades, in order to guarantee economic benefits," reported World Bulletin on Saturday.
There are about 3000 mujahedins in Albania who have settled down there on the basis an arrangement by US for the UN to be able to transfer them there from Iraq. "The government of Iraq was relieved to be rid of three thousand MEK who had been part of Saddam Hussein's repressive forces, but the problem has now simply been moved to Albania. The Americans promised help to de-radicalise the MEK members," said Huffington Post in a report on the Debate in the European Parliament under the topic 'What is to be done about the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq (MEK)?' which was held on May 30, 2017.

Although it is their own decision, the involvement of Albanian politicians in the capacity of deputies in such activities which call for 'freeing' Iran and bringing down the current government does not seem to be 'realpolitics'. Albania's foreign policy has never got involved in other countries' internal affairs, rather the opposite has happened from time to time. It's exemplary its peaceful and stabilizing role in the Balkans, something which has always been praised by the international factor. Such a constructive approach of cooperation has been followed even with other countries in Europe, America, Asia, Middle East, Africa, etc.
A few weeks ago the Albanian Ambassador to Tehran, Gent Gazheli expressed the wish of the government of Premier Edi Rama for making joint efforts to develop the bilateral relations between Albania and Iran. Ambassador Gazheli was also received by the Iranian President Rouhani.
The same wish was also expressed by the Foreign Minister, Ditmir Bushati who paid an two- day official visit to Tehran in mid- January this year. Below is the report released by the Albanian Foreign Minister: "At the invitation of the Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Affairs Minister Ditmir Bushati paid an official visit to Tehran. During this two-day visit, Minister Bushati held meetings with the President, Rouhani, his counterpart Zarif, the President of the Parliamentary Iran-Albania Group of Friendship, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Mines as well as the Chair of the Agency for Cultural Heritage and Tourism."
In addition the press release pointed out that "at the meeting with President Hassan Rouhani, parties agreed on the need for increasing cooperation between the two countries in areas of common interest. Minister Bushati expressed appreciation for the role of the Iranian government and of the President to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program with international actors, considering it as an agreement to the benefit of security and peace in the world. President Rouhani praised the friendship between the two peoples and underlined the importance of using the potentials to further develop bilateral relations."

The Foreign Ministry also reported that in the course of their meeting, Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on diplomatic consultations. Evaluating the steps undertaken to revitalize bilateral relations, the two ministers agreed on the need to strengthen the legal framework of cooperation, in particular in the field of trade exchanges, tourism and culture. In this context, parliamentary cooperation was seen as an important element in boosting relations between the two countries. Parties also praised the importance of establishing contacts and encouraged the exchange of information between the business communities of the two countries," concluded the press release.
In its report on Rouhani- Bushati meeting the Teheran Times said the president highlighted the necessity to fight violence, extremism and terrorism. "Terrorism is an international problem and it is one of our major duties to fight violence and terrorism." He added Iran is ready to cooperate with various countries in fighting terrorism.
For his part, Bushati said his country is a strong defender of the fight against terrorism and extremism. He also said Albania is determined to expand relations with Iran.
The accomodation of the 3000 mujahedins by Albanian authorities, a demand of the strategic ally US, is an humanitarian act, but I think that politics should be kept far away from it. The message that Albania's FM conveyed to Tehran and the latter's positive response should prevail and be the motto for the promotion of the bilateral relations in the mutual benefit.

In the meantime, as Huffington Post reported on June 2, 2017, the meeting in the European Parliament on 30 May this year discussed the problems associated with the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation (MEK) both inside the Parliament and across Europe and the wider world.
"Delegates discussed Albania's candidature to join the European Union in light of this situation and agreed that this is not just incompatible but that having trained terrorists on the doorstep of Europe is already a security threat to Europe. Delegates stressed that European security services need to take this threat seriously from now," said in his contribution Massoud Khodabandeh, Director at Middle East Strategy Consultants.
The Iranian Diaspora demands a change of regime, while western policies towards Iran have been softer for the past four decades, in order to guarantee economic benefits.
For example Germany used to be Iran's number one economic partner before sanctions hit the Islamic Republic in the early 2010s. Germany was the first country to send a large economic delegation to Iran after the 2015 nuclear deal that paved the way for removing the sanctions. The annual trade turnover between Iran and Germany stands at about 3 billion dollars.
In the meantime Iran's Economy Minister Tayebnia said volume of trade turnover between Iran and Austria will climb from the current $400 million to five billion dollars. Ali Tayebnia, at a meeting with Austrian Federal Minister of Finance Hans Jorg Schelling in Tehran, said "following my last year visit to the European country, during which constructive talks were conducted on expansion of bilateral economic ties, a number of working groups were formed to discuss issues of mutual interest like avoidance of double taxation, customs cooperation agreement and agreements on encouraging and supporting foreign investment and developing banking relations between the two countries."

Albania can follow the example of other Western countries and give energy to the spirit of the visit of its Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati to Tehran where the parties agreed on the need for increasing cooperation between the two countries in areas of common interest. This is what Albanian people are in need of!

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