Morocco has spoken up about Iran’s absence from the 14th OIC Parliamentary Session in Rabat last week, following the many questions by the media of whether one of the two countries were at fault.
Rabat – The Moroccan House Speaker Habib El Malki explained that Iran did not attend attend last week’s Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member States (PUIC) in Rabat because “the Iranian delegation did not respect all the rules of participation in the session” and arrived in large groups of up to 40 people.
Rabat hosted the 14th PUIC March 11-14.
El Malki said on Tuesday, March 19, in a press briefing, that as the host country, Morocco had requested the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to ask its member states to reduce the sizes of their delegations. Iran did not abide by the request, according to El Malki.
“It is customary to respect instructions requested by the host country,” El Malki stated. He emphasized that “Morocco fulfilled all the requirements” of the PUIC secretary-general, Mouhamed Khouraichi Niass.
El Malki’s statements respond to reports claiming that the Moroccan government did not allow two diplomats who formerly worked at the Iranian embassy in Rabat to participate, leading to the entire delegation to refuse participating altogether.
The delegation allegedly arrived at Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport but were forced to return “without explanation” according to Niass, following the event.
Iran did not comment on its delegation’s absence—led by Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
In the wake of Iran’s absence, at the opening of the PUIC Executive Committee which was held as part of the 14th PUIC session, El Malki urged the OIC member states to set aside their “differences” and work on resolving them through dialogue.
El Malki then stressed in a speech 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.”
Morocco cut diplomatic ties with Iran in May 2018, saying that Iran gave financial and military support to the Polisario Front through its proxy, Hezbollah, the Lebanese political party and militant group.