Iran, Hizbullah Deny Morocco Accusations over Polisario Arms Delivery

Hizbullah has denied Morocco’s accusations that the party has been delivering weapons to the separatist Polisario Front in Western Sahara, after it severed relations with Iran over the allegations.

The party rejected Rabat’s accusations, blaming the decision on foreign "pressure".

“It is regrettable that Morocco is resorting to pressure from the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia to direct these false accusations," the party said in a statement.

“The Moroccan Foreign Ministry should have looked for a more convincing argument to sever its relations with Iran, which stood and still stands by the Palestinian cause and strongly supports it, instead of fabricating these arguments,” added the statement.

Iran has also denied that it was involved in a weapons delivery to Polisario seeking independence for Western Sahara after Morocco cut diplomatic ties with Tehran over the allegations.

"Remarks attributed to the foreign minister of Morocco about cooperation between an Iranian diplomat and the Polisario Front" in Western Sahara are "false", Iran's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Rabat on Tuesday cut diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing the Islamic republic of using its ally Hizbullah to deliver weapons to the Polisario Front.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said "a first shipment of weapons was recently" sent to the Algerian-backed Polisario Front via an "element" at the Iranian embassy in Algiers.

He said Rabat had "irrefutable proof" of Hizbullah’s involvement and said ties were being cut with Tehran in response to Iran "allying itself with" the Polisario.

Hizbullah quickly rejected Rabat's accusations, blaming the decision on foreign "pressure".

The spat comes as tensions have soared between regional powerhouses Iran and Morocco's ally Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh on Wednesday said it "stood by" Rabat's decision to sever ties with Tehran and "strongly condemns the Iranian interference in Morocco's internal affairs".

Morocco maintains that Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony under its control, is an integral part of the kingdom, while the Polisario Front demands a referendum on self-determination.

Source: Naharnet, Agence France Presse

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