Somalia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Iran Citing Threat to Security

Somalia’s government cut diplomatic ties with Iran and recalled its envoys after accusing the Iranian Embassy of establishing sects that pose a threat to national security in the Horn of Africa nation.

Iranian diplomats have been “directly involved in meddling with internal Somali affairs and have carried out measures that are a threat to our national security,” Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke’s office said in a statement e-mailed Thursday from the capital, Mogadishu. It said Shiite Muslim sects established in Somalia by the unidentified diplomats were similar to those that exist in Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

Iranian diplomats were given 72 hours to leave the country, according to a separate statement issued by Somalia’s Foreign Ministry.

Somalia joins several countries in the region that cut ties with Iran amid a diplomatic standoff between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia on Jan. 3 gave Iran’s ambassador to Riyadh 48 hours to leave the country after protesters in the Shiite-majority country stormed the Saudi Embassy and set parts of it on fire. The incident followed the kingdom’s execution of 47 people for terrorism-related offenses on Jan. 2, including a Shiite cleric.

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