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Morocco expresses willingness to cooperate with Iran

Moroccan King Mohammed VI has expressed his interest in cooperating with Iranian President Hassan Rohani with the aim of giving a new impetus to bilateral relations between the two countries.

This is the first time the Moroccan monarch has communicated with an Iranian president after a five-year diplomatic estrangement between Rabat and Tehran.

The communication between the two leaders came in a congratulatory message sent by Mohammed VI to Rohani yesterday on the occasion of Iran's National Day, according to the official Moroccan news agency.

In his message, the Moroccan monarch said: "I take this opportunity to express to you my sure commitment to work with you in order to give new impetus to the relations that bring our two countries together in various areas of common interest, which will serve our peoples' interests, contribute in supporting the joint Islamic work, and consolidate solidarity among all the Islamic nation."

King Mohammed VI expressed his warmest congratulations to president Rohani and wished him continued health and happiness. He also wished the Iranian people more progress and prosperity.

In the past month, the Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Taqi Moayed began his work in Rabat after he formally presented his credentials to Moroccan Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, after a diplomatic estrangement between the two countries that lasted five years.

Rabat severed its diplomatic relations with Tehran in March 2009 because of what it described as an "unacceptable attitude" on Iran's part against Morocco and its interference in the religious affairs of the country.

At that time, the Moroccan foreign ministry accused Shia-majority Iran of trying to change the core foundations of the Moroccan identity and undermine the Sunni Maliki school adopted by the kingdom.

After five years of diplomatic estrangement, Morocco's Communication Minister and government spokesman Mustapha El-Khalfi participated in the tenth round of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers in December last year, which was seen by observers as an indicator that the relations between the two countries are about to be normalised.

According to Moroccan and Iranian media outlets, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheddine Mezouar and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke by telephone on 4 February and agreed to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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