Sudan orders Iranian diplomats to leave

Khartoum closes cultural centres and gives Iran's diplomats 72 hours to get out, allegedly for promoting Shia Islam.

    Sudan has ordered Iran to close its cultural centres and given their managers 72 hours to leave the country, officials have said, as a diplomatic row threatens normally close relations.

    "Sudanese authorities summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires in Khartoum and informed him of the decision to close the three cultural centres and to give the diplomats who ran them 72 hours to leave the country," the AFP news agency quoting an unnamed official said on Tuesday.

    Sudanese media speculated that the expulsions were linked to government concerns that Iranian officials were promoting their Shia brand of Islam in the largely Sunni country, according to the Reuters news agency.

    The Iranian cultural centre and its branches had exceeded their mandates and "become a threat to intellectual and social security," said a foreign ministry statement.

    Regional rivalries

    Khartoum has maintained generally close relations with Tehran, whose ships have made a number of port calls in Port Sudan this year.

    Iran is also reportedly a significant arms supplier to Sudan and the two governments are both backers of Hamas, although Sudan has denied Israeli accusations that it has acted as a conduit for Iranian arms deliveries to the Palestinian group.

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

    A Sudanese analyst told AFP that the move by Khartoum might be in response to pressure from Riyadh, which put enormous strain on the Sudanese economy earlier this year by denying it access to the Saudi banking system.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.