After Morocco, which severed ties with Iran over its support for separatists, Mauritanian authorities are complaining of the meddling of Iranian embassy which they accuse of spreading Shiism among the Sunni population.
Mauritanian media reported that the foreign ministry summoned the Iranian Ambassador in Nouakchott Mohamed Amrani against the backdrop of rising concerns on Iranian efforts to spread Shiism in the West African country.
The sources said that Mauritanian authorities expressed their rejection of any attempt at Shia proselytism in the Sunni country and informed the Iranian ambassador that they will ban any Shia events.
In this context, Mauritanian authorities decided to substitute an Imam believed to be Shia in the Imam Ali mosque, which was put under the jurisdictions of the Islamic affairs ministry. The mosque used to be a center for Shia activism in the country, sending students to Lebanon and Iran for training.
The Mauritanian crackdown on Iran’s interference in its internal affairs came after Morocco broke ties with Tehran over its support for the Polisario through its proxy Hezbollah and with connivance of Algeria.
Analysts see in Iran’s rising activism in the Sunni Sahel an attempt to set a foothold in Africa where Tehran plans to spread Shiism.