AFP: Iran is wholly to blame for Morocco's decision to sever ties with the Islamic republic in a spat over Bahrain as it had shown lack of respect for the North African kingdom, Rabat's foreign minister said Saturday.
RABAT (AFP) — Iran is wholly to blame for Morocco's decision to sever ties with the Islamic republic in a spat over Bahrain as it had shown lack of respect for the North African kingdom, Rabat's foreign minister said Saturday.
Morocco broke diplomatic relations with Iran on March 6, after leaping to Bahrain's defence when a senior Iranian official questioned the sovereignty of the Gulf state.
Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri told AFP in an interview that Iran had singled out Morocco by calling in its representative in Tehran.
Rabat had accused Tehran of seeking to impose Shiite Muslim ideology on the Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab kingdom, and Fihri said it had been similarly "active" in Morocco.
"Morocco is not the only country to experience this," he said, accusing Tehran of interfering in unnamed countries of sub-Saharan Africa, elsewhere in the Islamic world and in Europe.
Morocco's government spokesman said on Thursday that the Moroccan community in Belgium had been targeted by Iran.
The foreign ministry said when relations were broken that Iran "seeks to threaten" the integrity of Sunni Muslim Morocco in "sustained, structured action" amounting to "intolerable interference" in internal Moroccan affairs.
"Morocco cannot accept actions of this type on its territory, directly or indirectly," Fihri said Saturday.
The row began when a prominent member of Iran's powerful Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri, said on February 20 that Bahrain used to be Iran's 14th province and that it had a representative in the Iranian parliament.
Rabat recalled its charge d'affaires from Tehran for consultations over what it termed "inopportune expressions."
Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri also told the Iranian ambassador to Rabat, Vahid Ahmadi, that support for Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Gulf, was based on the latter's "attachment to international law," according to a Moroccan diplomatic source.
Iran's "inadmissible attitude, solely directed towards Morocco," was a sign of its desire to "alter the religious fundamentals of the kingdom, to attack the roots of the Moroccan people's ancestral identity," the source said.
Iran denied any interference in Morocco's religious affairs.