Iran denies supporting Polisario after Morocco severs ties

The government in Rabat accused Tehran and Lebanon's Hezbollah of funding, training and arming fighters from the Polisario movement via Tehran's embassy in Algeria.

The same source says it supports all measures taken by Morocco defending its "security and stability".

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry on Tuesday announced severing diplomatic ties with Iran to protest against alleged Tehran's support for the Western Sahara independence movement, the Polisario Front.

Saudi Arabia, Iran's regional rival, expressed its support for Morocco's decision in a foreign ministry statement, saying it "strongly condemns Iranian interference in Morocco's internal affairs through its tool, Hezbollah's terrorist militia, which is training the elements of the so-called Polisario group".

"Hezbollah provided Sam9 and Sam11 missiles to Polisario", Bourita said, insisting that the decision to cut ties with Iran is a bilateral issue in response to Tehran's involvement in facilitating an alliance with Polisario.

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"The baseless allegation by Morocco foreign ministry have been made under the pressure of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia", Hezbollah added.

According to ISNA news agency, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denied Morocco's accusations, but his assurances failed to satisfy Bourita who returned to Rabat accompanied by the kingdom's ambassador to Iran.

Morocco said the Iranian Embassy would extend the support to the militants via the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah's members.

Morocco and Iran had only recently restored relations after years of enmity stemming from Morocco's support for Bahrain's Sunni monarchy, which quashed a 2011 Arab Spring uprising supported by that country's Shiite majority.


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