Somalia Cuts Ties With Iran After Accusing Iranians in Mogadishu of ‘Disseminating’ Shiite Doctrine
The government of Somalia cut political ties with Tehran on Thursday and gave Iranian diplomats 72 hours to leave the country after accusing Iran of interfering in the country’s affairs and posing a security threat.
“This step has been taken after careful consideration and in response to the Republic of Iran’s continuous interference in Somalia’s internal affairs,” said the Somali Foreign Ministry in a statement, according to AP.
Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke’s office released a statement on Thursday saying Iran was “directly involved in meddling with internal Somali affairs and have carried out measures that are a threat to our national security,” according to Bloomberg.
Somalia’s move came after Djibouti and Sudan, two other east African nations, joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in cutting diplomatic ties with Iran, amid a growing row between Tehran and Riyadh over Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran after its embassy was stormed in Tehran over the execution.
The Somalian authorities did not mention the conflict between Iran and the Gulf states as part of its reasoning for cutting ties, but Somali authorities did arrest two Iranians late last months after accusing them of “disseminating” the Shia faith in majority-Sunni Somalia. The two men were reportedly paraded on state television following their arrest.
“Their mission was an outright assault against Somali people and their religious conviction.” said a Somali intelligence minister, according to Somali news outlet Xogta on December 28. The official said the Iranians were organizing mass-weddings as part of their program to entice followers to the Shia form of Islam.