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Did Morocco prevent an Iranian delegation from attending a parliamentary session in Rabat ?

Earlier this week, media reports suggested that an Iranian parliamentary delegation was prevented from attending the 14th session of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States. A source within the parliament denied these reports, stressing that Iran chose not to participate to the meeting.

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Arab MPs at the Moroccan parliament during the 14th session of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States./Ph. DR

During this week, Morocco hosted the 14th session of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States, known as PUIC. The event which saw the participation of a number of parliamentary delegations was not attended by Iran.

Speaking to Yabiladi on Thursday, a well-informed source within the Moroccan parliament confirmed that the Iranian parliamentary delegation, expected to attend the PUIC’s 14th session and accompanying meetings, chose not to show up.

Replying to media reports, suggesting that the Iranian delegation was prevented from entering the Kingdom, the same source stated that the «country was invited» just like other member states.

«Morocco has compiled with international laws respected in every international conference», said the same source, stressing that Iran was convened by the organization that chairs the session.

Iranian OIC officials in Rabat

According to the same source, Iranian representatives from the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were present in Rabat and attended the accompanying meetings hosted by the Kingdom.

«The Moroccan Parliament informed OIC, beforehand, that the Kingdom would grant visas to the Iranian delegation, complying with international laws», the same source recalled. This comes as sources told media that the security staff, accompanying the Iranian delegation, was prevented from entering the North African Kingdom.

Asked about that, the same source refused to comment on these reports, indicating that the «parliament has nothing to do with security matters (...) all I can say is that the delegation was not banned from participating to the session».

The same source confirmed that a statement will be issued during the day and that a letter signed by all participating delegations will be sent to King Mohammed VI. «Since the Iranian delegation couldn’t make it to the session, the event was automatically chaired by Habib al-Maliki the parliament’s speaker».

These explanations emerged after several newspapers reported that the Iranian delegation was banned from participating to the event, held in Rabat, due to teh diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Speaking to London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Mohammed Qureshi Nias, an official within the Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States said that «the Iranian brothers couldn’t attend the conference» after they «arrived in Casablanca, and were denied entry without an explanation».

For the record, Morocco cut in May, 2018, diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing the country and Lebanese political party Hezbollah of interfering the Kingdom’s domestic affairs by providing support for the Polisario Front.

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