Israeli Diplomat: Iran Influenced US Recognition of Moroccan Sahara

Morocco cut off its ties with Iran in 2018 after proving a collusion between the separatist Polisario Front and the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

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The former Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dore Gold, has declared that Iran’s attempts to increase its influence in North Africa was one of the reasons that led the US to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Gold, who also served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN between 1997 and 1999, shared his analysis of the American decision in an article published by Israel Hayom on Monday, January 4.

Iran is known for equipping and training militias from the Polisario Front, the separatist group in Western Sahara, through its proxy Hezbollah group.

In 2018, Morocco shared with Iran documents proving the Polisario-Hezbollah collusion. With Tehran not taking the issue seriously, Rabat decided to cut diplomatic ties.

Read also: Morocco-Iran-Hezbollah: A Circle of Hostilities?

Gold argues that Iran’s support for the Polisario Front is one of its many attempts to increase its influence in North Africa, which represents a security risk for the entire region.

“This was part of a pattern that the Iranians were following in Africa, seeking to infiltrate the continent by backing military moves of allies they sought to cultivate,” the former Israeli diplomat wrote.

Gold also recalled that in late 2019 the UN obtained photographs suggesting that the weapons used by Khalifa Haftar’s army in Libya were Iranian-made.

Iran’s interference in political affairs in North Africa are a direct indication of the country’s attempt to increase its influence in the region, the former diplomat stressed.

Read also: Bourita: Iran Uses Polisario to Expand in North and West Africa

“After Syria hosted Iranian proxy forces in large numbers, the US issued a proclamation in March 2019 recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Gold noted. “After the Polisario decided to work with Iran, an equivalent move of recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara made perfect sense.”

The former Israeli diplomat considered the US Western Sahara decision to be an illustration of a growing anti-Polisario feeling in the “West.” According to Gold, most global — especially Western — players now see the separatist group as a destabilizing agent.

“It was clear that the Polisario, far from being a national liberation movement deserving global backing, were emerging as an organization that had no problem linking itself to the terrorist network Iran had established across the Middle East and Africa,” Gold wrote.

As it emerges that the Polisario Front’s real goals are different from its professed agenda, he continued, some major powers have decided to bury the front’s dreams by unequivocally supporting Morocco’s position.   

“What would the Western powers do? They did not have to send their air forces to North Africa. But they could deny the Polisario their diplomatic goals.”

Read also: Spanish Diplomat Warns of Polisario Militia’s Growing Terrorist Ideology