Morocco claims Iran threatening 'Africa's spiritual security'

Morocco claims Iran threatening 'Africa's spiritual security'
Moroccan FM Nasser Bourita said Iran threatens the 'spiritual security of Africa'.
2 min read
27 January, 2022
Morocco's FM warned of Iran's ambitions in West Africa [Getty]

Morocco's foreign minister has vowed to protect "the spiritual security of Africa" from Iranian attempts to spread its influence on the continent, according to reports.

Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, warned a parliamentary committee last week of Iranian attempts to infiltrate Africa.

"Iran plans to enter West Africa and to spread the Shia doctrine 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 spread its influence across the world, particularly in West Africa, Asia, and parts of the Middle East.

Tehran is also accused of fomenting discord in the region via proxies, such as with Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have carried out a series of attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Morocco's Gulf allies.

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

Bourita said: "Morocco’s support for what the state of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates has been subjected to was a clear message to denounce the abuses of the Houthis and the policy of Iran that stands behind them."

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

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in 2016, following a spat over Riyadh's execution of Shia cleric Nimr Al-Nimr. 

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

All these governments have accused Iran of interference in domestic affairs.