Iran Hinting at Intervention in Nigeria to ‘Protect Country’s Shiites’
Iranian officials signaled intent on Tuesday to intervene in Nigeria on behalf of the country’s Shiite Muslim population, Iran’s pro-regime Tasnim News Agency reported.
The officials were responding to the reported death of 60 people in Nigeria over the weekend, after the Nigerian army raided Islamic Movement headquarters and arrested its leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky. The Nigerian Army said its raid was in retaliation for an Islamic Movement attack on the chief of staff’s convoy — an allegation the Islamic Movement denies.
The Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission released a statement condemning the raid as a “barbaric” attack on “the oppressed Shiites of Nigeria,” and warning that Iran would interpret it as an, “aid and companionship [sic] with [the] international terrorism,” carried out by ISIS and others.
The statement said that Iran would pressure Nigeria through the UN and by other means, because, “The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that it is duty-bound to defend the oppressed people of Nigeria and the respectable Muslim scholars of that country, specially Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and it will do its best to this end.”
Responding to demands for action by Iranian MPs, Majlis [parliament] Speaker Ali Larijani said that Tehran was acting to help Nigerian Shiites harmed in Nigerian Army operations.
Larijani’s comments follow a statement made by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, according to which Tehran holds the Nigerian government “responsible for this incident.”