Hassan Heyrani is an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security of Iran (MOIS) who went under prosecution by the Albanian Special Prosecutor Against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) in July 2022, was arrested on October 30, 2022 and transferred to the closed Karrec Camp and was deported from Albania in January 2023. According to the reports of the opposition sources of the Iranian regime, he is now working in the gang of the MOIS in Greece.
This person initially stayed in Ashraf 3, the location of the members of People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), but due to the fact that he had suspicious connections and espionage for the Iranian regime, he was expelled from the MEK and Ashraf 3 in April 2018.
Hassan Heyrani, an agent of Iranian Regime’s Ministry of Intelligence, in Albania
Carrying out the missions of the MOIS
After being expelled from MEK, with the budget from the MOIS, Heyrani first rented a coffee shop called Cafe Frank in the Fresco area of Tirana to use it as a hangout and cover to coordinate espionage activities. Then he started to lure people who left Ashraf 3 and offered them to spy and write articles full of lies and slander against the MEK in exchange for a monthly salary of 300 euros.
He was also responsible for giving misinformation to western journalists and demonizing the MEK in order to lay the groundwork for further terrorist acts. On March 21, 2021, a German court ruled against the German newspaper Spiegel and its reporter, who had published Hassan Heyrani’s lies against the MEK.
In February 2021, a person named Hadi Thani Khani, who worked with the MOIS network in Albania for more than 4 years and worked closely with Hassan Heyrani, disclosed the activities of the MOIS in Albania in a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the relevant bodies in Albania. Among other things, he gave detailed explanations about Hassan Heyrani’s activities for the MOIS and his role in recruiting other people to cooperate with this infamous Ministry.
The MOIS uses elements like Hassan Heyrani who call themselves “former members of the MEK” and spends astronomical amounts of money to spread the most vicious propaganda and falsehood campaigns to isolate the MEK and then carry out terrorist operations against them.
Activities under the cover of Cafe Frank and ASILA Association
In June 2021, the MOIS moved Cafe Frank from the Fresco area to a three-story building in the Kinostudio in Tirana, headed by Hassan Heyrani. With the expulsion of the ambassador and diplomats of the Iranian regime from Albania, the regime needed a larger center to organize its covert activities. For some time, the ground floor of this building was used as a cafe, which was a cover for other activities of the Iranian regime. .
On November 25, 2021, the MOIS launched a cover society, Association of Supporting Iranians in Albania (ASILA) with the help of Hassan Heyrani and several of its local agents.
The people who have been registered in the court as the founding board of ASILA, apart from Hassan Heyrani, are three local persons who are known to be the MOIS agents, They are:
-Dashamir Mersuli, president of the association
- Gjergji Thanasi, secretary general of the association
- Vladimir Veis, member
It is said that with the expulsion of Hassan Heyrani from Albania, Dashamir Mersuli and Gjergji Thanasi are carrying out all the dirty activities of the MOIS in Albania against the PMOI under the name of ASILA.
In an interview on November 28, 2021, Hassan Heyrani revealed the real goals of establishing this association, which serves the terrorist goals of the Iranian regime, as follows:
First, establishing communication and membership with other refugees and ethnic groups in Albania, especially Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi refugees or the Egyptian community.
Second, Providing visa facilities for the agents that the regime plans to send from Iran to Albania.
Third, establish a travel agency using the legal credit that ASILA has earned
Fourth, using ASILA bank account to transfer money to Albania
Fifth, creating a suitable social and cultural cover for subversive activities
Sixth, creating pressure groups to advance the goals of the regime
The MOIS tried to bring its agents and terrorists into Albania using Hassan Heyrani and also under the guise of ASILA, but some of them were noticed by the security agencies of Albania. For example, on August 1, 2022, Balkan Web reported that the Albanian authorities at Rinas airport refused the entry of two well-known agents of the Iranian MOIS, Batul Soltani and Afshin Kalantari, and returned them to Germany. These two people were invited by Hassan Heyrani and ASILA.
The financial source of Heyrani and ASILA gang
According to the information published in the media, two elements more than anything else indicate that Heyrani and other people of ASILA are hired by the MOIS. First, continuous communication with one of the branches of the MOIS in Iran called Nejat association, especially the head of this association named Ebrahim Khodabandeh.
Who is Ebrahim Khodabandeh?
According to the US Congress report to the Pentagon, Khodabandeh, his brother and his brother’s wife are hired agents of the Iranian MOIS.
As far as financial sources are concerned, Hassan Heyrani admits in an interview dated On August 22, 2021 with the Sunday Times newspaper that the money for his activities is provided through Iran.
“Heyrani admitted to the Times that the café and His association had been financed by an “NGO” in Iran that had obvious links to the MOIS and was a front organization for Iranian regime activities against the MEK. This café is also the address given for ASILA Association, the very association that was subject to a search warrant by the Albanian Police”
The People’s Mujahidin: the Iranian dissidents seeking regime change in Tehran
Hadi Thani Khani, in his report from the time he was working with the MOIS in Albania, describes how the MOIS distributed money among its agents, including Hassan Heyrani.
Microsoft Report Implicates ASILA
After it was publicly announced in July 2022 that the Iranian regime hacked Albania’s government digital systems and tampered with government documents, the American company Microsoft, at the invitation of the Government of Albanian investigated on how the Iranian regime attacked Albania. In a part of its report, Microsoft concluded that Nejat association in Iran (which is known as the mother organization of ASILA) is involved in amplifying the propaganda of Homeland Justice, which is carried out by hackers of the Iranian regime, before and after the hack. For example, the head of Nejat, Ebrahim Khodabande, on June 6, in a letter to Prime Minister Edi Rama, repeated the propaganda of Homeland Justice channel in advance. The Microsoft report adds:
“Four days later, on June 10, Khodabandeh and the Nejat Society, an anti-MEK NGO that he heads, hosted a group of Albanian nationals in Iran. The group included members of another anti-MEK organization called the Association for the Support of Iranians Living in Albania (ASILA)—Gjergji Thanasi, Dashamir Mersuli, and Vladimir Veis. …. Upon their return from Iran, on July 12, Nejat Society said Albanian police raided their offices and detained some ASILA members.”
Microsoft investigates Iranian attacks against the Albanian government
The MOIS had no doubt that if Hassan Heyrani was taken to Iran with this team, Albania would refuse to accept him again as a refugee, although, he was later expelled from Albania as a non grata person.
However, the focus of ASILA gang’s trip to Iran was their meeting with Hassan Heyrani’s parents in Iran in terms of its promotional aspect.
Hassan Heyrani and other people of ASILA are being prosecuted
On July 15, 2022, the Albanian press announced that SPAK had authorized the inspection of 4 offices, 8 rental apartments and several residential buildings and various activities of ASILA and its affiliates.
Shiptaria.com wrote on July 15, 2022: “20 Iranians who were former members of the People’s Mojahedin are being interrogated by SPAK for spying for the Iranian regime. Report TV has been informed that their apartments are being searched at the request of the special prosecutor’s office. Most of them have been under investigation for 3 years. Some controlled places:
• Office of ASILA used (for rent) by citizen Hassan Heyrani.
• Apartment in the use (for rent) of Hassan Heyrani citizen on Karaman Yel Street 3, Tirana.
• The car number AA505 RB belongs to citizen Hassan Heyrani.
The same site wrote about the nature of these people:
“We are talking about the former members of the MEK, who have separated from this organization and are now suspected of carrying out prohibited activities inside the territory of our country on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its secret services.”
Shiptaria.com wrote about the leader of this group while including his photo:
“Hassan Heyrani, the person you see in the photo below, is one of the people suspected of being the leader of the former members of the PMOI”
The tactics of choosing Albanian women as wives:
Sources of the opposition of the Iranian regime, who are familiar with the tactics of the MOIS, report that one of the orders of MOIS to its agents in foreign countries is to marry women from their country of mission so that they can legally establish their residence in the host country. Although this tactic has not worked much according to the laws of Albania, but it is used as a pressure lever in the propaganda of these agents. For example, when on October 30, 2022, Hassan Heyrani and 4 other agents of the Iranian regime were arrested in Albania and transferred to the closed Karrec camp, the MOIS websites regularly posted propaganda articles about the women it said were the wives of the people transferred to Karrec. On the other hand, the existence of such women who are Albanians and reportedly receive 500 euros each month, provide a very good possibility for the Iranian regime to demonize the PMOI through them. For example, Margarita Ballço, who is used by Hassan Heyrani, under the title of Heyrani’s wife, repeated the dirty and criminal accusations of the MOIS against the residents of Ashraf 3 in several television programs in Albania, including Top Channel Live, and said that women are forced sterilization in Ashraf or that the PMOI killed a woman because she was pregnant. She also maliciously claimed, hat the residents of Ashraf hacked the digital system of Albanian passports to change her nationality in the government’s digital database.
Hassan Heyrani, an agent of the MOIS, was expelled from Albania In January 2023, Olsi Jazexhi announced on his Facebook about the expulsion of Hassan Hirani from Albania, which was done because of the threat to public security.
According to the official order of deportation with the seal and signature of the Ministry of Interior of Albania published by Olsi Jazexhi, Hassan Heyrani is not allowed to enter Albania for the next 5 years and does not have the conditions to stay in this country.
According to the official deportation order written on 9 January 2023, he had a maximum of 7 days to leave Albania. And finally, according to him, he was expelled from Albania with the signature of the Minister of Interior, Bledi Çuçi. Following receiving the deportation order, Hassan Heyrani went to Greece and the Iranian regime’s MOIS is trying to revitalize his malicious activities in the country.