Morocco claims Iran threatens ‘Africa’s intellectual security’

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Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said Iran was threatening “Africa’s spiritual security”.

Morocco’s foreign minister has reportedly vowed to protect “Africa’s spiritual security” from Iranian attempts to expand its influence on the continent.

Nasser Bourita, Secretary of State, warned a parliamentary committee last week on Iranian attempts to infiltrate Africa.

“Iran plans to invade West Africa and spread Shia teachings in the region,” he told the committee, local media present at the meeting reported.

Iran, a Shia-majority country with a theocratic regime, has been accused of using missionaries as soft power to expand its influence around the world, particularly in West Africa, Asia and parts of the Middle East.

Tehran is also accused of using proxies to stir up discord in the region, including with Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have launched a series of attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Morocco’s Gulf allies.

Abu Dhabi was the target of a deadly attack claimed by Houthis last week. It was the first attack of its kind in the Gulf state fighting the Houthis in Yemen – although shipping off the UAE coast has also been attacked by suspected Iranian proxies.

Bourita said: “Morocco’s support for what was inflicted on the state of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates was a clear message to denounce Houthi abuses and the Iranian policies behind them.”

Morocco separated diplomatic ties with Iran in 2018 when it accused the Tehran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah of training separatist fighters from the Polisario front against Morocco in Western Sahara.

Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran in 2016 after Riyadh disputed over the execution of Shia cleric Nimr Al-Nimr.

Bahrain, Sudan and the UAE joined the Saudi boycott of Iran by either cutting or downgrading diplomatic ties with Tehran.

All of these governments have accused Iran of interfering in internal affairs.

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