Senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials on Wednesday strongly rejected some Western and Arab media reports that Khartoum has ordered the Iranian embassy to close the country’s cultural centers in Sudan.
“Certain streams in Sudan are seeking to impair the good relations between Tehran and Khartoum,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian told FNA on Wednesday.
“Yet, we rest assured that the Sudanese leadership would never allow anyone to undermine the historical relations between the two countries,” he continued.
The Iranian deputy foreign minister ensured that “the embassies and cultural and economic missions of both the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sudan continue their normal operation in the two countries”.
Al-Jazeera, quoting an AFP report on Tuesday, claimed that Sudan has ordered Iran to close its cultural centers and given their managers 72 hours to leave the country.
“Sudanese authorities summoned the Iranian charge d’affaires in Khartoum and informed him of the decision to close the three cultural centers and to give the diplomats who ran them 72 hours to leave the country,” the AFP quoted an unnamed official as saying on Tuesday.
Reuters sought to relate the report to sectarian issues, saying that the expulsions were linked to Sudan’s concerns that Iranian officials were promoting their Shia brand of Islam in the largely Sunni country.
Khartoum has maintained generally close relations with Tehran, whose ships have made a number of port calls in Port Sudan this year.
Both Iran and Sudan are backers of Hamas, although Sudan has denied Israeli accusations that it has acted as a conduit for Iranian arms deliveries to the Palestinian group.