- Title: IRAN: Iran says it is surprised by Morocco's move to cut ties
- Date: 8th March 2009
- Summary: TEHRAN, IRAN (MARCH 7, 2009) (REUTERS) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI AND UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY CHIEF MIGUEL D'ESCOTO BROCKMAN ENTERING AND SHAKING HANDS MOTTAKI AND BROCKMAN WALKING TOWARD LECTERN JOURNALISTS AND CAMERAMEN (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI, SAYING: "As far as the Moroccan government's decision is concerned it is their own decision, but the measure was surprising and questionable." JOURNALISTS TAKING NOTES (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI, SAYING: "The measure will receive a response by the Foreign Ministry in a statement later today." CAMERAMAN MOTTAKI AND BROCKMAN LEAVING NEWS CONFERENCE
- Reuters ID: LVAE1E6X65WY4HQSBIMNJW1J1QOW
- Duration: 00:01:09
- Story Text: Iran says it is surprised by Morocco's decision to cut diplomatic links with the Islamic Republic, and would respond in a statement later.
Iran said it was surprised by Morocco's decision to cut diplomatic links with the Islamic Republic, and would respond in a statement later on Saturday (March 7).
Following an outcry in the Sunni Muslim world over a statement by an Iranian official reportedly questioning Sunni-ruled Bahrain's sovereignty, Morocco's Foreign Ministry said on Friday (March 6) Rabat had severed diplomatic ties with Tehran.
Rabat also criticised Iran for its efforts to spread its Shi'ite brand of Islam in Morocco, a move the ministry said it saw as a threat to the North African country's moderate Sunni religious identity.
"As far as the Moroccan government's decision is concerned it is their own decision, but the measure was surprising and questionable,"
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference.
"The measure will receive a response by the Foreign Ministry in a statement later today," Mottaki said.
According to media reports, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last month Shi'ite Iran had sovereignty over Bahrain. Iran has said the remarks had been misunderstood and misinterpreted.
In response Morocco's King Mohammed sent the Bahraini monarch, King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa, a message of support, calling the Iranian remarks "absurd" and a contradiction of international law.
Iran says its relations with Bahrain are based on mutual respect and denies having claims over the island, which has a sizeable Shi'ite population.
The Moroccan government has always been concerned over Iran's role in the Sunni world since its Shi'ite Islamic revolution toppled the monarchy in Tehran.
Morocco, which enjoyed warm ties with Iran under the Shah until he was deposed in 1979, only normalised its relations with Iran by exchanging envoys in the late 1990s.
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