Albania, host of Iranian dissident camp, expels two Iranian diplomats

An honor guard of the Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) in Manza, Albania. (AFP)
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Updated 16 January 2020

Albania, host of Iranian dissident camp, expels two Iranian diplomats

  • Tirana had already kicked out Iran’s ambassador and another diplomat in 2018 after accusing them of threatening national security
  • In 2013, Albania agreed to take in some 3,000 members of the exiled Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK)

TIRANA: Albania has ordered the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats for “activities that go against their status,” the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, in the latest breakdown of ties between the two countries.
Tirana had already kicked out Iran’s ambassador and another diplomat in 2018 after accusing them of threatening national security.
The foreign ministry did not specify the reason for the latest expulsions, which come after the chief of Iran’s Quds force, Qasem Soleimani, was killed by an American drone strike earlier this month, ratcheting up tensions around the globe.
“The two diplomatic representatives of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Albania, Mohammad Ali Arz Peimanemati and Seyed Ahmad Hosseini Alast, are declared persona non grata and Albanian authorities have asked them to leave Albania immediately,” the statement said.
The move comes several months after authorities announced in October 2019 that they had thwarted an attack planned by a “terrorist cell” run by Quds.
At the time, Albanian authorities said the cell was planning to attack opponents of the Tehran regime who are based in the Balkan country.
In 2013, Albania agreed to take in some 3,000 members of the exiled Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) at the request of Washington and the United Nations.
They currently live in a compound in the northwest of the country.


AstraZeneca still waiting for FDA decision to resume US trial

Updated 24 September 2020

AstraZeneca still waiting for FDA decision to resume US trial

  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine was initially developed by the University of Oxford

FRANKFURT: AstraZeneca is still waiting for the go-ahead from the US drug regulator to restart the clinical trial of its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said on Thursday.
“We are the sponsor of the US study. We then provided all this information to the FDA (US Federal Drug Administration) and we are waiting to hear their decision,” Soriot told a virtual World Economic Forum discussion.
The US trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, initially developed by the University of Oxford, remains on hold while regulators investigate an illness in one of the participants, even after a British study and other programs outside of the United States have resumed.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Wednesday the continued suspension showed the FDA took vaccine safety seriously.
A document posted online by Oxford university last week stated the illness in a British participant that triggered the pause on Sept. 6 may not have been associated with the vaccine.