The renewed scrutiny on Iran’s meddling in the Balkans due to the Burgas attack led to the arrest by Kosovar authorities of a high-profile Iranian cleric in July 2016 on charges of money laundering and terrorism finance. Hasan Azari Bejandi ran a network of five Iranian organizations under the umbrella of Al-Mustafa International University which sought to propagate Khomeinist teachings. According to Kosovar authorities, the five affiliated institutions were “the Qur'an Foundation of Kosova that was set up in Prizren in 2002; the Ibn Sina Institute for Human Sciences launched in 2012 in Pristina; the all-female NISA charity based in the capital; the Pristina-based Bregu I Diellit group; and the Ahle Beyt Institute set up in 2007 in Prizren.”
According to Kosovar investigative journalist Visar Duriqi, “Iran's activities in Kosovo were more or less underground. Their activities didn't cause too much attention. But that changed when authorities found out that the NGOs were hiding their sources of income and the purposes of their spending." State authorities alleged that Bejandi laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars through the Iranian NGO network between 2005 and 2015. The Iran NGO network in Kosovo is no longer operational.
The 2012 Burgas bombing and foiled Cypriot plot highlight the security threat Iran and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah pose to Europe. While the incidents led the EU to designate the “military wing” of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Iran still operates educational institutions, mosques, and charitable organizations on the continent which provide a base of support, recruits, and funds for Hezbollah. Iran’s malign ideological expansion into Europe, much of it carried out in the open, increases radicalization on the continent and risks metastasizing into further deadly terrorist activity.