The Balkan region is the gateway to Europe for the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence. Bosnia is considered a special target for reaching the heart of Europe; a goal that the regime can use for its terrorist activities. By launching “cultural” and “religious” institutions, the Iranian regime attempts to attract local people to do two things for it: (a) intelligence and espionage work, and (b) plan terrorism acts. The Iranian regime is using the radio and television network managed by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Quds Force and propagates and promotes fundamentalism in order to establish the grounds to achieve the above two goals.
When the the Bosnian war began in 1993, the Iranian regime set up a radio station there and later turned the station into a television channel. This establishment was later renamed the Balkan Sahar Network in 2016, and currently serves the regime’s propaganda and interventions needs by pumping out fake news, fundamentalist ideas, and the seed of terrorism in Bosnia. It produces five hours of daily programming. The director of the network is an individual named Sohani.
Following the escalation of the regime’s activities in Bosnia, the Bosnian Security Service became suspicious of these activities and conducted a series of investigations, according to Report #2783 released by the US National Security Agency. According to this report, Mohammad Reza Golzardi, the director of the Iranian regime’s radio and television in Sarajevo, is a member of the Iranian intelligence service.
A March 9, 2017 report by the US National Security Agency on the growing activities of Iran’s intelligence services in Bosnia-Herzegovina has collected the names of nearly 650 members, mostly Iranians, who are cooperating with the Iranian regime. According to the report, the large number of these individuals is also a major national security threat to Western countries, especially the United States.
Javad Hassanpour is at the top of the list of individuals whose information was published. He was a former deputy minister of intelligence in Tehran who, during the Iran-Iraq war, was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards in southeastern Europe and across the Balkans, according to the Bosnian intelligence service. He then became the commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Javad Hassanpour is a member of the Iran-Bosnia Friendship Association.
The US National Security Agency report cites several examples of the Department of Intelligence’s recruitment of local individuals and their working methods. After being recruited, the regime invites these people to Iran, holds various training and indoctrination meetings with them, and selects individuals suited for various missions. An example is described as follows:
“A man named Fuad Kasumović, while working as the Deputy Director General of the Customs Administration, cooperated with the Iranian Intelligence Service. During the visit, Fuad Kasumović met with an agent named Abolghasem Parhizkar who is a senior official in the Ministry of Intelligence. Abolghasem Parhizkar also visited Bosnia-Herzegovina twice in 2014 with a diplomatic passport, during which he secretly met with Fuad Kasumović.”
The Balkan Sahar Network in Bosnia currently operates three propaganda media: TV, radio and an Internet radio programs to poison the cyberspace. Most of these programs are prepared and translated in Iran and sent for broadcasting.
The main staff of these networks includes managerial and administrative service staff and some Iranian translators. Local individuals of the network often work in the field, do design and translation.
Preparation of documentary and historical programs about the history of terrorism is one of the production programs of this network. This is a propaganda cover to falsely accuse the Mojahedin with terrorism. In order to prepare a program about the Mojahedin, a joint cooperation was established between the “Didban” (Watch) Institute managed by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and the Balkan Sahar Network. The Didban Institute provides falsified and distorted reports about the Mojahedin to the Balkan Sahar Network and fully cooperates with them in producing similar programs.
After two decades of producing propaganda programs in Bosnia, the Iranian regime is now looking to broadcast these programs in Albania. But why has the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence turned its attention and activities to Albania?
The Iranian Mojahedin moves to Balkans
Following the Mojahedin’s organized transfer to Albania, the Iranian regime appointed Gholamhossein Mohammadi-Nia as its new ambassador to Albania. Mustafa Roudaki, the head of the regime’s intelligence station in Europe, also moved to Albania so that he could more closely conduct intelligence and terrorism activities against the Mojahedin in Albania.
The following is a sample of statements by the Sahar Network staff in describing the focus of their mission:
Tasnim News Agency, June 28, 2016. Hossein Mahmoudi, Director of International Communications and Cooperation, Sahar World Network: Unfortunately, the Mojahedin in the Balkans are very capable, both financially and logistically, so if you want to be effective in that area, you have to enter through TV signals.
Ahlul Bayt (Ibna) News Agency, June 6, 2016. Soleimanizadeh, former director of Sahar Network: We have started a new production to expose the Mojahedin in the Balkan channel of Sahar Network.
Fars News Agency, September 24, 2017. Behrouz Naseri, the director of the Regime Broadcasting Agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina: In recent years, due to the presence of the Mojahedin in the Balkan region, we decided to expand our target audience of the network to the Balkan region with the support of the Deputy Foreign Minister. Covered areas become more complete.
As noted above, the expansion of television and radio stations and networks into various languages, such as Arabic, Kurdish, Azeri, Urdu, Albanian, and other languages, at great financial cost with the aim of widely promoting a fundamentalist ideology by the clerical regime, is part of a wide and long propaganda apparatus. It will help the Iranian regime to expand its terror network.