MOROCCO CUTS TIES WITH IRAN OVER BAHRAIN


Morocco has cut diplomatic links with Iran, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said on Friday, after an outcry in the Sunni Muslim world over a statement by an Iranian official questioning Sunni-ruled Bahrain’s sovereignty.

Rabat also criticised Iran for its efforts to spread its Shi’ite brand of Islam in Morocco, a move the ministry said it saw as threat to the North African country’s moderate Sunni religious identity.

“The Kingdom of Morocco has decided to break its diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran beginning this Friday,” the ministry said.

Sunni scholars in Morocco and elsewhere have denounced what they see as Iran’s efforts to convert Sunni Muslims to Shi’ism, arguing the drive would create strife similar to the often bloody Shi’ite-Sunni divides in Iraq and Pakistan.

According to media reports, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last month Shi’ite Iran had sovereignty over Bahrain.

In response Morocco’s King Mohammed sent the Bahraini monarch, King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa, a message of support, calling the Iranian remarks “absurd” and a contradiction of international law.

Iran says its relations with Bahrain are based on mutual respect and denies having claims over the island, which has a sizeable Shi’ite population.

On February 25, Rabat recalled its envoy to Iran to protest what Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri said was “inappropriate language” directed against Morocco in a communique reported by the Iranian news agency

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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