Iran Misses OIC Meeting in Morocco: Is Rabat or Tehran at Fault?


Rabat – Rabat hosted the 14th Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member States (PUIC) from March 11-14. Delegations from the Middle East and Africa attended, but Iran was notably absent.

Iran did not give an official explanation for its absence, but media reports claimed that the Moroccan government did not allow two diplomats who formerly worked at the Iranian embassy in Rabat to participate. The diplomats had been in Rabat before Morocco cut ties with Iran in May 2018.

The Moroccan government allegedly requested that only an Iranian delegation, led by Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, enter Morocco. The Iranian delegation, however, rejected that any of its delegates be excluded and chose not to participate altogether.

The Turkish delegation raised questions about Iran’s absence, to which Mouhamed Khouraichi Niass, the secretary-general of the PUIC answered that it was out of his control.

A source in the Parliament later denied the reports to a Moroccan media outlet, saying that Iran chose not to participate on its own.

Meanwhile, at the OIC parliamentary session, Moroccan delegates did not comment on the Iranian delegation’s absence. The meeting reportedly did not go as smoothly as expected with Iran’s absence.

Read Also: Iran Sentences Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to 38 Years, 148 Lashes

Morocco and Iran currently do not share diplomatic relations.

In May 2018, Morocco cut diplomatic ties with Iran. Morocco said that Iran gave financial and military support to the Polisario Front through its proxy, Hezbollah, the Lebanese political party and militant group.

Rabat and Tehran had experienced an on-and-off relationship for years prior.

In 2009, Morocco broke ties with Iran after the Persian country threatened Bahrain’s territorial integrity and was spreading Shiism in Morocco. Morocco saw Iran spreading Shiism as interference in its domestic affairs.

The relations between the two countries continued to be unstable, although they had mended their bilateral ties in 2014.

Resolving differences through dialogue

At the opening of the 41st meeting of the PUIC Executive Committee—held as part of the 14th session PUIC meeting on Monday—Moroccan House Speaker Habib El Malki urged the OIC member states to set aside their differences and work on resolving them through dialogue.

“We must leave the controversial issues aside and resolve differences with dialogue and conviction,” El Malki said.

El Malki stressed that the OIC should adopt internal dialogue to overcome their differences and that “having different views is the essence of democracy, which should bring benefits to people despite their differences.”

The meeting discussed several topics including the activities of the political affairs and foreign relations committee and economic and environment affairs committee.

Established in June 1999, the PUIC includes 54 parliaments and 22 regional and international organizations.