Sudan expels Iranian diplomats and closes cultural centres

Expulsions believed to be linked to government fears that Iranian officials were promoting Shia Islam in majority-Sunni country The Guardian: Khalid Abdel Aziz in Khartoum Sudan president Omar al-Bashir. The country is subject to economic sanctions, partly

Expulsions believed to be linked to government fears that Iranian officials were promoting Shia Islam in majority-Sunni country

The Guardian: Khalid Abdel Aziz in Khartoum
Sudan president Omar al-Bashir. The country is subject to economic sanctions, partly linked to its conflict in Darfur. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Sudan has closed all Iranian cultural centres in the country and expelled the cultural attache and other diplomats, a government source has said, without giving an explanation for the move.

Sudanese media speculated that the expulsions were linked to government concerns that Iranian officials were promoting Shia Islam in the largely Sunni country, but there was no confirmation from authorities.

Sudan, isolated by UN and western sanctions partly linked to its conflict in Darfur, has sought allies and donors across the sectarian divides in the Middle East and further afield. That has often left it balancing competing interests and loyalties in the complex web of regional rivalries.

The country’s president, Omar al-Bashir, seized power in 1989 in a bloodless coup backed by Sunni Islamists.

Sudan rejected an Iranian offer to set up air defences on its Red Sea coast after a 2012 air strike that Khartoum blamed on Israel – fearing it would upset Tehran’s regional rival, the Sunni superpower Saudi Arabia, Sudan’s foreign minister said in May.

But Sudan, where many people follow the traditional Sufi branch of Islam, has also received delegations from senior Iranian politicians.

Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the region, has been competing with Iranfor influence in the Middle East. The rivalry has in effect divided the region into two camps, with countries either allied to Saudi Arabia or to Iran.

“The Sudanese government ordered the closure of Iranian cultural centres in Sudan, and asked the cultural attache and the diplomats working in office at the Iranian cultural attache to leave Sudan within 72 hours,” the government source told Reuters.

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2 COMMENTS
  • Yohannes September 7, 2014

    all provokers will go auto of Africa

  • Kombishtato September 7, 2014

    Libya says Sudanese war plane loaded with ammunition for Tripoli enters its
    airspace

    Sat Sep 6, 2014 By Ahmed Elumami and Feras Bosalum

    BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Libya said a Sudanese military transport
    plane bound for a Tripoli airport under control of an armed faction had
    entered its airspace to supply a “terrorist group” with ammunition, a
    government statement said on Saturday.

    Sudan confirmed it had sent a military plane but said it had only carried
    equipment for a joint Libyan-Sudanese state border force.

    Libya is in turmoil three years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi as
    armed groups, partly linked to Islamists, have seized the capital Tripoli
    and set up an alternative parliament and government.

    “This work from the Sudanese state violates (the sovereignty) of the State
    of Libya and interferes with its affairs,” the Libyan statement said, adding
    that Libya had asked the Sudanese military attache to leave the country.

    “Sudan is interfering by supporting a terrorist group,” it added.

    Libya said the Sudanese plane had been bound for Tripoli-Matiga airport and
    made a refuelling stop in the Libyan desert oasis Kufra near the border to
    Sudan. Ammunition had been found loaded on that plane during an inspection
    at Kufra airport, it added, without saying whether the plane was still in
    Kufra …

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