Is he an agent of Iran’s religious fascism in Albania?
Gjergji Thanasi is an Albanian citizen living in Durrës. He introduces himself a journalist. On the other hand, the websites of the Iranian regime’s Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) and the terrorist Quds Force introduce Thanasi as a doctor and university professor.
But 22 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Ashraf, Albania, wrote a letter to international organizations on June 23, 2021. In this letter, they said Gjergji Thanasi cooperated with the Iranian regime in its campaign to pressure their families and send terrorists from Iran to Albania.
Indeed, who is he and why has he turned into the mouthpiece of the criminal Iranian regime against its democratic opposition, MEK, in Albania? Why is he introduced as a doctor and a university professor by the Iranian regime? Often, he speaks against the PMOI/MEK with the same derogatory and slanderous phrases used by the Iranian regime’s Bassij and Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
What do former collaborator of MOIS who worked closely with Thanasi, say about him?
Thanasi in the words of a former MOIS agent
Hadi Sani Khani was an MOIS collaborator in Albania for 4 years and worked closely with Thanasi and spied against the PMOI/MEK. In a letter to the UN Secretary General in February 2021, he wrote: “He [Thanasi] worships money and in order to get more of it, he is prepared to do anything and everything to advance the clerical regime’s agenda”
Hassan Hayrani oversees the affairs of MOIS agents in Tirana. In a private conversation, he told me that Gjergji Thanasi and Olasi Jazexhi receive more than 1,000 euros from the clerical regime every month. Hayrani said, many times, I put the money in an envelope and delivered it to them at their home.
In his testimony to the Court of Dürres, Sani Khani said that he had cooperated with Thanasi on MOIS order. Thanasi interviewed Hadi Sani Khani against the PMOI/MEK on October 26, 2020. The interview was published on the MOIS websites, including Ashrafnews.com and the Albanian language of Nejat.
Thanasi started his mission in November 2017
Some images have been published on the meetings between Gjergji Thanasi and a British woman named Anne Singleton, a notorious MOIS agent. A report prepared by the Library of the US Congress for the Pentagon refers to Anne Singleton and her husband, Massoud Khodabandeh, as MOIS agents recruited abroad.
Another report by a parliamentary committee at the UK House of Commons also introduces Ann Singleton and Massoud Khodabandeh as agents of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry in the UK.
According to the evidence, the meeting between the British spy with Gjergji Thanasi took place on November 28, 2017, at the Doro Hotel in Tirana. The MOIS has not published the details of this meeting, but Gjergji Thanasi, started his non-stop activities against the PMOI/MEK in Albania from that date.
Building contacts with malicious elements in the Iranian Embassy in Tirana
Three months after Gjergji Thanasi started communicating with Anne Singleton and other hirelings of the Iranian regime, he was invited to the Iranian Embassy in Tirana. In February 2018, Thanasi’s presence at the embassy was revealed in the images broadcast by Ora News TV.
In February 2019, Gjergji Thanasi published pictures of his presence at the Iranian embassy, where he mingled with the Iranian regime’s terrorist operatives against the PMOI/MEK. He never imagined that these people would be identified by the Albanian government and expelled from Albania for their terrorist activities.
Iranian Embassy in Albania – February 2019
The Iranian regime’s diplomat-terrorists welcome Gjergji Thanasi
- Amir Ali Taghikhani (by the door)
- Mohammad Ali Arzpayma (middle) was expelled from Albania for his terrorist activities.
- Ahmad Hosseini Alast, (first in the row) was expelled from Albania for his activities related to terrorism in Albania.
Receiving money from the Iranian regime
The former MOIS collaborator, Hadi Sani Khani, reported that the Ministry of Intelligence pays 1,000 Euros to Gjergji Thanasi per month. It is not clear where the agreement was made, whether during the meeting with Anne Singleton, or during his visits to the Iranian Embassy. Gjergji Thanasi’s colleague is Olasi Jazexhi, who shamefully echoes the Iranian regime’s voice in Albania in defense of the religious and fundamentalist fascism in Iran. In a video clip on YouTube, dated 31 August 2020, Jazexhi admits that he and Gjergji Thanasi receive money from the Iranian regime on their trips to Iran. However, he does not specify the amount of money.
Espionage activities against the PMOI/MEK
In a bid to collect information, Gjergji Thanasi has repeatedly referred to Ashraf 3 under various pretexts. Ashraf 3 is where the PMOI/MEK members are based. He has admitted to some of his espionage activities.
In one instance, he said, “When I was standing outside the PMOI/MEK camp, outside the gate, I saw the license plate numbers of the cars of the company that worked there. I took pictures of the cars and everything when entering and leaving. I memorized everything, even the type of wireless devices of the MEK members and the license plates of the cars that took out the Albanian workers. This information is important for understanding the MEK relations. I even remembered the specifications of the device with which cars were checked by security.”
Balkan Post is a front website created by the Quds Force and the MOIS. It cites Gjergji Thanasi on his methods of collecting information from inside the camp: “Just by observing the camp from outside, tracking the Albanian owners, keeping track of the license plates of the various vehicles, and of the Albanians entering the camp for work, one can collect information about the group. The number of Albanians employed to perform various jobs in the camp has decreased significantly. In general, they are not related to conversations at all. They are very willing to talk about their experience working in the camp. To talk to them, you have to offer them a beer, a cup of tea or coffee, and be careful about the questions you have about inside the camp.”
Defending the Iranian regime’s hirelings against the interests of Albania
Whenever one of the agents or terrorists of the Iranian regime in Albania are arrested or an official investigation is on the agenda, Gjergji Thanasi challenges and attacks all these measures to ensure the safety of the people of Albania and the residents of Ashraf 3 with a tone that is only representative of the Iranian regime.
• In March 2018, the government of Albania arrested and deported two terrorists of the Iranian regime who came to Albania under the guise of journalists to carry out terrorist activities against the PMOI/MEK and blow up their Nowruz ceremony. But Gjergji Thanasi widely propagated in favor of the Iranian regime. He said those arrested were not involved in terrorist activities but were journalists who were invited to Albania by Baba Mundi, the leader of the Bektashi Muslims. He described the news of the arrest of these two terrorists as fake news produced by the PMOI/MEK in coordination with the US government. But in an interview with Albania’s News 24 TV, Baba Mondi expressed his satisfaction with the timely arrest of these terrorists and said: “God honored us that nothing happened. They were arrested on time.”
• Gjergji Thanasi along with Olasi Jazexhi tried to project as fake news the conference of the police chief of Albania on October 1, 2019, and the disclosure of the terrorist plots of the Iranian regime against the PMOI/MEK in Albania. They claimed that the statement of the police chief was prepared in advance and did not concern Albania.
• Another notorious agent of the Iranian regime, Ehsan Bidi, was detained for one year in August 2019 due to activities that violated the laws of Albania. As an undesirable element in Albania, he gave a written commitment to the authorities to leave Albania voluntarily in August 2020. But he refused to do so. Finally, on August 17, 2020 the authorities once again issued an order for his deportation. Throughout this process, Gjergji Thanasi actively worked to prevent Bidi’s expulsion. He held press conferences and wrote insulting articles. He went so far as to accuse the PMOI/MEK of trying to kill him.
• On October 10, 2020, the Albanian police and media announced the arrest of a MOIS agent named Bijan Pooladrag. The police statement on October 10 announced the arrest of this person for committing criminal acts, including “illegal interception of computer data, interference with computer systems, interference with computer data, and misuse of equipment.” The statement added, “he communicated through a network messaging app. Then he connected them to other phone numbers” to carry out his eavesdropping and tracking mission.
According to the Albanian media, Bijan Pooladrag was suspected of spying and eavesdropping on the PMOI/MEK telephone and computer communications in Albania at the behest of the Iranian regime. In this case, Gjergji Thanasi tried to eliminate the Iranian regime’s trace, as reported by the press.
• Another well-known agent of the Iranian regime is Gholamreza Shekari. He was arrested by the police on September 7, 2020, while engaged in human trafficking. In this case, Thanasi wrote an article in favor of Gholamreza Shekari and campaigned for his release. Iranians in Tirana have testified that Gholamreza Shekari encouraged them to work for the Iranian Embassy against the PMOI/MEK.
• Danial Kassraei is yet another MOIS agent supported by Thanasi. On July 22, 2020, Top Channel TV reported, “Danial Kassraei, of Iranian nationality and Italian citizenship, is suspected of being an Iranian Ministry of Intelligence infiltrator with espionage activities. According to the report of counter-terrorism agencies, this citizen has been classified as a dangerous person who harms public security. The 29-year-old has often appeared at the PMOI/MEK camp in Manza, Durrës. On behalf of the Iranian state, Kassraei has attempted to recruit former PMOI/MEK members or current members of this organization.”
Two days later, Thanasi and his colleague, Olasi Jazexhi, posted a video clip on YouTube, questioning the expulsion of this agent. Like in other cases, they supported the Iranian regime’s stooges against the Government of Albania.
Receiving training in Iran
Since 2018, when Gjergji Thanasi built his direct contact with the Iranian regime, he has been called to Iran many times. Iran trips arranged for Thanasi, and his colleagues are luxurious and in no way compatible with the conditions of the Iranian people, more than 80% of whom live below the poverty line. For example, he is accommodated in an expensive hotel in Evin and transported by an official protocol vehicle. The cost of two nights in the Evin Hotel is equal to an Iranian worker’s salary for 30 days if he has a job.
In 2020, the Ministry of Intelligence took Thanasi to Iran. On February 13, 2020, he wrote on his Facebook about the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, where thousands of people are imprisoned, tortured, and executed. “I am currently in Evin Hotel as a journalist. I hope to use my personal experiences here.” He took pictures with the repressive elements of the paramilitary Bassij or next to the tanks of the regime’s army.
After each trip to Iran, Thanasi’s activities against the PMOI/MEK escalated in Albania, which proves that he considers himself actively accountable to the MOIS demands. After returning from Iran in February 2020, Thanasi actively wrote articles for the MOIS websites. For example, only between September 27 and August 13, 2020 – in approximately two weeks – Thanasi published eight articles against the PMOI/MEK on the Albanian pages of one of the MOIS websites called Ashraf.com.
This was apart from dozens of posts in favor of the Iranian regime published on his Facebook or Gazeta Impakt website, which his partner, Olasi Jazexhi, manages.
The Iranian regime always orders its agents to demonize the PMOI/MEK as much as they can in the media to pave the way for terrorism against them.
Public relations with one of the MOIS branches
Gjergji Thanasi is proud to have a relationship with the “Nejat Society,” one of the branches of the Ministry of Intelligence in Iran. The MOIS has appointed Ebrahim Khodabandeh as Nejat’s CEO.
A report prepared by the US Library of Congress for the Pentagon shows that Ebrahim Khodabandeh is an MOIS agent.
The primary mission of the Nejat Society is to suppress the families of PMOI/MEK members in Iran. In many cases, this association and Khodabandeh have forced the families to give press interviews or write letters to the Albanian authorities against their children or brothers and sisters in Albania.
According to the opposite document, Nejat directly invited Thanasi to visit Iran. The date of this invitation is May 28. According to the
Nejat websites, Thanasi and three people accompanying him — Dashamir Mersuli, the head of ASILA, and Vladimir Veiz, a member of ASILA– arrived in Iran on June 9 and were hosted by the Nejat Society for two weeks.
According to the Nejat website, Dashamir Mersuli wrote a letter to the Nejat Society after returning to Albania. In this letter, he mentioned the training he received from Nejat: “The Nejat Society’s successful activities to achieve its mission have been inspiring and instructive for him and his colleagues.”
The Nejat Society’s activities that inspired Mersuli and his colleagues, Thanasi and Veiz, are nothing but suppression of PMOI/MEK families, charlatanism, lying, and demonizing the PMOI/MEK.
Playing a role in ASILA, an MOIS front association
After expelling the ambassador and other diplomat terrorists of the Iranian regime from Albania, the MOIS and the terrorist Quds Force registered an association in Albania named ASILA. They thus tried to fill the void of the regime’s espionage and terrorist activities. Gjergji Thanasi was appointed and registered as the secretary of this association.
Hassan Heyrani, a MOIS agent, and several others who call themselves former members of the PMOI/MEK were behind the registration of this association
SPAK asks to inspect ASILA
Acting on the request of the Special Structure for Combatting Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK), Special Court for Corruption and Organized Crime, issued the order to inspect the place of the ASILA association and nine of its affiliates on July 12, 2022. The SPAK’s order states that 20 former members of the PMOI/MEK have gathered in ASILA “ are
suspected to be paid by the Iranian secret services, IRGC, QODS, or Sepah Pasdaran (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) for obtaining information on the PMOI/MEK organization in Albania. The Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC – 00DS or Sepah Pasdaron), aim at the final elimination of the organization “PMOI/MEK” and its activity, wherever it is. This organization based on the Regulation of the Council European No. 359/201 and 584/2021 and the Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 1128 date 30,12.2020 Amended by VKM No. 250 date 05.05 2021 is listed as a terrorist organization in our country. From what was presented above, there are reasonable doubts that the Iranian citizens separated from the Organization “MEK” residing in Tirana, Hassan HEYRANI, Mehdi SOLEIMANI, Gholam SHEKHARI, Moustaf (Meld) BAHESHITI, Abdurrahman (Abdolrrahman) MOHAMMADIAN, Hassan Shahbaz HOSSEINEH, Safarez RAHIMY, Mohmoud Deghan GHORABI, Mohammad Reza SEDICH, Reza ESLAMI and Ali HAJARJ, in cooperation with each other, have carried out and are carrying out concrete actions against the organization “MEK” on behalf of the terrorist organization “Islamic Revolutionary Guard” Iranian (IRGC – QODS), which support them financially“
On July 14, 2022, the office of ASILA and 11 MOIS agents in ASILA were inspected and taken to the police station for interrogation. On July 16, 2022, the Fax Web wrote: “New details have emerged about the SPAK investigative case regarding the former members of the MEK who are suspected of espionage activities at the behest of Iran. Sources close to the Prosecutor told Elvis Mirta, Fox News reporters, that Albanian citizens are also involved in this espionage network against the MEK. Noting the investigations of SPAK so far, it is suspected that the Iranian Interior Ministry has recruited the individuals under interrogation. Sources close to SPAK indicate that they are preparing a network of agents. They have created a society in Albania that aims to obtain information about the life of MEK members in the camp in Manz. The association is led by an Iranian citizen, Hassen Heyrani, a former MEK member. Fox News learned that the ASILA association was formed about 1.5 years ago and is based on the third floor of a building in front of school, “Gjon Buzuku,” in the capital.”
A court ruling against Gjergji Thanasi
Gjergji Thanasi, who was working under the cover of a journalist to demonize the MEK, had filed a complaint in the court of Durres that the MEK’s legal advisor had accused him of being a spy and agent of the Iranian regime, and therefore he should be convicted and pay a fine.
After two years of hearing in numerous sessions, in a verdict dated July 21, 2021, the court dismissed Thanasi’s complaint against Behzad Saffari, the MEK’s legal advisor, and ordered Thanasi to pay the expenses of the court.
By presenting numerous and undeniable documents, the lawyers showed that Gjergji Thanasi is engaging in espionage and serving the goals of the Iranian regime, promoting the lies, and running a demonization campaign of the MOIS against the MEK, which paves the way for the further terrorist activities of the Iranian regime.
The lawyers of the MEK in Albania said: This decision of the Durres Judicial District Court proved beyond any doubt that the complaints and claims of Gjergji Thanasi against Behzad Saffari were false and untrue. The court verdict proved that Ashraf 3 operates in full compliance with the laws of the Republic of Albania and does not allow the enemies of the Iranian people to achieve their evil goals.