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Iran’s President blames the West for Sudan split

by Toby Collins

July 05, 2011 (LONDON) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, blamed the West for being behind the secession of South Sudan which will be formally proclaimed within less than a week.

He was speaking during the opening ceremony of a construction project in Chabahar, Iran, on 4 July.

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Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stands for the national anthem beneath a portrait of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a gathering of reformed drug addicts in Tehran June 26, 2011. (Reuters)

Ahmadinejad, in a speech delivered on 4 July, laid the blame for the split upon “hegemonic powers”. He further asked why, if they are “concerned about vindication of part of Sudanese’ rights”, they are not “worried about Spain’s Bask, Northern Ireland and southern states in America and are not trying to secure rights of these people”?

The Republic of South Sudan will be borne of more than two decades of civil with North Sudan, which ended in 2005 with a peace agreement which afforded the South Sudanese the opportunity to vote in a plebiscite. In January 2011 they voted for secession.

The North-South peace talks were officially sponsored by the IGAD, but the US Administration played a crucial role in the two year process.

The Basque separatists, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna want independence from the rest of Spain. Since 1968 they have killed 829 people.

The Irish Republican Army are amongst several rebel groups who want Northern Ireland removed from the British Isles. They have killed 1,800 people since the late 60’s.

Iran is infamous for its antagonistic anti-West output. Presumably Ahmadinejad’s reference to Western separatist movements alludes to a perceived double standard – you quash dissent in your back garden and support it if it is anti-Islamic and far enough removed.

Sudan and Iran have significant ties. Bashir visited Iran on 24 June to attend an anti-terrorism conference, which Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said would confront the “double standard” of the West in its dealings with terrorism.

Iran and Sudan are two of the four countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism by the US, which entails significant embargoes. The US was using the possibility of removal from the list as incentive for North Sudan to carry out a amicable divorce with the South. Deplorably, North Sudan’s army is maintaining its assault in South Kordofan region which it began last month and was described by Obama as “dire, with deeply disturbing reports of attacks based on ethnicity“.

Symptomatic of Iran and Sudan’s collusion, perceived or actual, was the arrest in June 2010 of the opposition leader, Hassan al-Turabi for publishing an article claiming that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had a weapons factory in Khartoum.

Khartoum supports Iran’s nuclear programme and Iran condemns the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Bashir.

There are suspicions that Iranian arms are brought to Gaza via Sudan and with it tacit agreement.

As Ahmadinejad’s comments come so soon after Bashir’s visit to Tehran, it is likely that they are in tune with his opinions. However, in public although inconsistent, Bashir’s rhetoric has generally been accepting of South Sudanese secession; he has been invited to speak at the independence day celebrations.