Home | News    Tuesday 2 September 2014

Sudan shuts down Iranian cultural centres, expels diplomat


September 1, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities on Monday ordered the closure of Iranian cultural centre in the capital Khartoum, and other states, Sudan Tribune has learnt.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L) and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, in Tehran on 26 June 2011 (FARS)

The Iranian cultural attaché and the staff at the Khartoum centre were also asked to leave the country within 72 hours.

The government has not issued any official explanation for the abrupt move but the foreign ministry today summoned the Iranian charge d’affaires and informed him of the decision.

Some press reports have suggested that the Sudanese government’s decision was motivated by warnings made by religious circles as well as the media about the spread of Shiite ideology among Sudanese youth after the intensification of activities by the office of the Iranian cultural attaché in Khartoum.

A radical jihadist group under the name of “Hamza Group for Preaching and Jihad” issued a statement last month threatening the former managing director of Kenana Sugar Company Mohamed el-Mardi Tijani and religious cleric al-Nayel Abu-Guroon after accusing them of promoting the Shiite sect.

Egyptian media figure Ahmad al-Maslamani stirred a controversy last month after talking on his show about the spread of Shiite ideology in Sudan through the Iranian embassy in Khartoum, adding that the number of Shiite followers in the Sunni dominated country reached 12,000 people mostly from university students who attend weekly workshops held by the cultural attaché of Iran.

Al-Maslamani argued that Sudan is moving in the way of danger as a result, because the spread of Shiite ideology in Sudan creates an internal discord.

He played a YouTube video of a Kuwaiti Shiite cleric by the name of Yasser Al-Habib speaking about how Shiite in Sudan are persecuted and called for a revolt against president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.


The move contrasts sharply with warm political ties between Khartoum and Tehran which has angered Arab Gulf states particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and led to strained relations with them.

Over the past few years there have been mounting signs of deterioration in relations between Khartoum and Riyadh.

Last year, Saudi Arabia closed its airspace to the plane carrying the Sudanese president on his way to Tehran where he was scheduled to attend the inauguration ceremony of president-elect Hassan Rouhani, thus forcing him and his delegation to return home.

Observers speculated that Sudan’s growing ties with Iran could have irked the Saudis, prompting them to block Bashir’s flight.

Saudi authorities emphasised that Khartoum did not obtain prior clearance for the flight, but Sudanese officials insist that they have followed all required procedures.

Sudan has regularly allowed Iranian warships to dock in Port Sudan across Saudi Arabia drawing concern by the United States and its allies in the Gulf.

The Saudi pro-government Al-Riyadh newspaper blasted Khartoum over the Iranian warships, questioning the logic behind the relationship between the two countries in a heavily critical editorial published last year titled “The fall of masks between Iran and Sudan”.

“Bashir’s government resorting to a state that is in political and security odds with most Arab countries has no logical justification,” the newspaper said.

The editorial accused the Sudanese government of “conducting naive policy”, saying it had turned the country, despite its enormous potential, into a marginalised nation that is unable to attract Arab or foreign investors.

In May, Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti reiterated that Sudan’s ties with Iran are normal and not special with public cooperation in known military aspects.

“This is not true, our relationship with Iran is very normal and below the level [you would expect] between two Muslim nations and particularly that Iran stood much with Sudan in all international forums and defended it a lot,” he told London-based al-Hayat newspaper.

“But there is a minor need for Sudan in light of the security challenges facing the country , and we have said this over and over that Sudan benefits from its relationship with Iran in a limited way in the field of maintenance of some of the weapons produced by some Sudanese factories,” Karti added.

He criticised local media and even the Sudanese army for overstating the issue of docking of Iranian warships in Port Sudan which appeared to concern these countries.


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  • 2 September 2014 08:46, by LabotoNyom KobiYe

    Will Iranian war ships dock again as usual in Port Sudan this time? Nobody knows. Hiding behind religious curtains is the devil behavior dat generates radicals, not only in Sudan but also in the whole Arab world. When Islamic/Western scholars warns of these activities dat religion is a personal relationship with God (no matter wot direction u face when praying), some countries ignore it.

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    • 2 September 2014 08:54, by LabotoNyom KobiYe

      And de results of taking such radical ideology for granted will surface abruptly by closing down all Iranian cultural centers across the country. This is de beginning; Iran will never let it go unpunished. If they want, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir will still go for such behavior of expelling Iranian diplomats within 72 hours. Sudan did not finish paying for factories built for making weapons and ammos.

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  • 2 September 2014 10:42, by ForAll

    Is it the right decision with all the professional analysis?
    Iran is very professional in Nuclear, Stealth Technology, Weapons, All types of Rockets ( long, medium and short distance,

    Iranians are in the process of enrichment Uranium by LASER

    Sudan must make use of them but in a very keen way with all the respect to all Arab countries,

    repondre message

  • 2 September 2014 13:19, by Northern Sudanese

    Iran is a very good ally and Sudan can benefit a lot from its technology and weaponry especially in the future. However that cooperation must not be a threat to our relations with the gulf because they are our main financial allies. US relations with Sudan will return sooner or later no matter what but Iran must also remain an ally. but Iran must not spread its shia ideology in Sudan.

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    • 2 September 2014 13:23, by Northern Sudanese

      if the number of shia sudanese keeps growing then we may end up seeing something in the future like whats happening in Iraq, Syria , lebanon etc. which are mainly wars between shia and sunni muslims. economic and political relations are fine, military cooperation must be only for defense purposes but cultural relations are too dangerous for Sudan’s future.

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    • 2 September 2014 14:14, by South South

      Northern Sudanese,
      "However that cooperation must not be a threat to our relations with the gulf because they are our main financial allies. US relations with Sudan will return sooner or later no matter what"

      It is all about money Sudan wants. Poor country where people eat DONKEYS. You can not have it both ways. Pick USA or pick Iran.

      repondre message

      • 2 September 2014 14:18, by South South

        Northern Sudanese,

        You think Sudan is stable, wait for 2015 election. Terrible war is coming to your back yard sleeping man. Egypt secret agents are working with youth in East Sudan to start big war during election in 2015. Wake Up!!! sleeping man.

        repondre message

        • 2 September 2014 22:52, by Northern Sudanese

          South South

          focus on your own country that recently surpassed somalia as the most fragile/failed state in the world rather than making imaginary stories from your dreams at night. In Sudan we are sick of constant war, we want peace and development and that is why you are now in your own country.our target now is to get rid of NCP and get a government that cares about development through peacefuly

          repondre message

      • 2 September 2014 22:48, by Northern Sudanese

        lol South Sudan is far poorer so relax. we eat sheeps, you drink cow piss and shower under urine lol. I would get rid of NCP and pick USA anytime, but Iran has historically been on our side politically so I would never give up on Iran. Iran doesn’t have money, but it has experience and good arms technology

        repondre message

        • 3 September 2014 00:02, by South South

          Nothern Sudanese,

          Last week people were selling out DONKEYS meat in Soba, South Khartoum. Why? Poor country.

          repondre message

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