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Albania cuts diplomatic ties with Iran over July cyberattack

Albania cut diplomatic ties with Iran and expelled the countrys embassy staff over a significant cyberattack nearly 8 weeks ago that has been allegedly completed by Tehran on Albanian government websites, the prime minister said Wednesday.

The governments decision was formally sent to the Iranian Embassy in Tirana within an official note, Prime Minister Edi Rama said. All embassy staff, including diplomatic and security personnel, were ordered to leave Albania within 24 hours.

On July 15, a cyberattack temporarily turn off numerous Albanian government digital services and websites.

Rama said a study determined that the cyberattack wasnt completed by individuals or independent groups, calling it circumstances aggression.

The deep investigation put at our disposal undeniable evidence that the cyberattack against our country was orchestrated and sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran which had involved four groups for the attack on Albania, Rama said in a video statement.

The Biden administration said it supported the move by Albania, that is a NATO ally.

AMERICA strongly condemns Irans cyberattack, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement. We interact Prime Minister Ramas demand Iran to be held in charge of this unprecedented cyber incident.

AMERICA will need further action to carry Iran in charge of actions that threaten the security of a U.S. ally and set a troubling precedent for cyberspace, Watson said.

A spokesperson for Irans Mission to the US didn’t immediately react to a obtain comment.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, shelters about 3,000 Iranian dissidents of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq group, most widely known as MEK, who live at Ashraf 3 camp in Manez, that is 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Albanias capital, Tirana.

The MEK was founded in the 1960s to oppose the monarchy that ruled Iran and orchestrated bombings along with other attacks contrary to the government that allegedly killed American military officers and civilian contractors. The MEK has denied ever killing U.S. citizens.

The group took part in the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah but soon fell out with clerics and Islamists who seized power. The MEK was forced into exile, first in France, then Iraq and today Albania.Because of its alleged links to violent attacks and its own ties to Iraqs Saddam Hussein, america designated the group a terrorist organization until 2012.

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