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Morocco says that Iran supports the Polisario Front, which seeks the independence of Western Sahara. According to Rabat, the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, provides logistical support and training to the movement.
Morocco will sever diplomatic relations with Iran, citing Tehran’s support for the Polisario Front, which seeks self-determination in Western Sahara, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita reported in Rabat.
“Morocco has decided to sever diplomatic relations with Iran, the Moroccan ambassador in Tehran has been withdrawn and the Iranian envoy has been asked to leave Rabat,” the minister said.
According to the minister, the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, is providing logistical support and training to the independence movement of Western Sahara, the Polisario Front.
Since 1975, Morocco occupies most of Western Sahara after the withdrawal of the Spanish army from its then colony in North Africa. The area is rich in raw materials such as phosphate, gold, uranium, rare minerals and also has abundant fish resources.
The Polisario denounces the occupation and seeks the self-determination of the Saharawi people.
In 1991 a ceasefire supervised by a UN peacekeeping force was approved. The efforts to call a referendum on self-determination have not paid off so far. Rabat proposes an autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.
Saudi Arabia reacts
For its part, the Government of Saudi Arabia expressed its support for Morocco. The Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “your country supports the brother kingdom of Morocco in everything that threatens its security, stability and territorial integrity.”
Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s main rival, stressed that it supports Morocco “in everything that guarantees its security and stability, including its decision to break relations with Iran.”