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Monday, March 9, 2009

Iran explains stance on Morocco fall-out

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 10:34:07 GMT | PressTV

Influential lawmaker Kazem Jalali said Morocco made a serious mistake and should
take steps to make up
for its decision.
Iran says the Moroccan rationalization for cutting its diplomatic ties with Tehran necessitates Rabat to make up for its decision.

In a late Friday statement, Moroccan Foreign Ministry announced the cessation of its diplomatic ties with Tehran.

It explained that Iran's embassy in Rabat had tried to "alter the religious fundamentals of the kingdom" and threaten the religious unity of the Sunni Arab kingdom.

While Rabat has made no mention of how Tehran has interfered in its affairs, it appears that Morocco has relied on reports from domestic media outlets.

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Manouchehr Mottaki said the move was "questionable". The ministry later released its official statement and labeled the Moroccan allegations as "utterly baseless and unfounded".

The Rabat decision to end its relations with Tehran has also raised eyebrows in the Iranian Majlis (parliament), which believes the move has endangered unity in the Muslim world.

"Such claims are made only to divert attention from the current major issues that relate to the Muslim world, including the reconstruction of Gaza and the promise of support for the Palestinian cause," prominent Iranian lawmaker Kazem Jalali said on Sunday.

Jalali said Morocco made a serious mistake and should make up for its decision.

The cut in ties followed a two-day conference that called for lifting the 20-month Israeli blockade of Gaza and increased reconstruction efforts in the war-torn strip.

A member of the Majlis governing board said a hidden agenda sought by certain countries has engineered the discord between Iran and Morocco.

"I believe some states have sought hard to put an end to the expansion of Tehran-Rabat relations," said Hamid-Reza Haji-Babaie.

As part of its justification, Morocco made reference to the recent troubles in Iran-Bahrain relations.

Relations between the two Persian Gulf neighbors had ventured into troubled water when a senior Iranian cleric, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, recalled how during the reign of the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Tehran had renounced its right to its 14th province -- the then Bahrain.

Nateq-Nouri later explained that he was only describing a historic event.

While Iran and Bahrain continue to enjoy close relations, the issue was used by Morocco as proof that Tehran fails to respect the sovereignty of other nations.

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