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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Iran questions Morocco severance of ties

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 11:07:13 GMT | PressTV

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has questioned the motive behind a Moroccan decision to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry on Friday accused Iran's Embassy in Rabat of trying to "alter the religious fundamentals of the kingdom" and threaten the religious unity of the Sunni Arab kingdom.

In a statement, Morocco said Iran causes "intolerable interference in the internal affairs of the kingdom", Associated Press reported Friday.

Such accusations have previously found their way into the Moroccan press; Iran has repeatedly denied the charges as baseless.

"The Moroccan government's decision is surprising and questionable," Mottaki responded in an address to reporters on Saturday.

He said the world can expect Iran to release an official statement on the Moroccan move.

The Moroccan decision came nine days after Rabat recalled its charge d'affairs from Tehran over remarks by an Iranian official on the past sovereignty of Bahrain -- an issue cited by Morocco as having contributed to its decision.

Iran's former Majlis speaker, Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nouri, criticized the last Iranian monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, for giving up sovereignty over the island of Bahrain.

Iranian officials say the remarks have been misinterpreted and that Iran respects the sovereignty and independence of all neighboring and regional countries.

Nateq-Nouri later explained that he had only intended to compare historical events before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In his press conference, Mottaki also criticized Morocco for shunning an international summit in Tehran in support of Palestinians.

The two-day conference, named Palestine: Manifestation of Resistance, Gaza: Victim of Crimes ended on Thursday with a call for lifting the blockade on Gaza and reconstructing the war-torn strip.

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