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Sudan rebuffs WSJ claim about Iran seeking naval base on Red Sea coast

Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali al-Sadiq Ali (Photo by Anadolu news agency)

Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali al-Sadiq Ali has dismissed Western media allegations about Iran’s attempt to establish a permanent naval base on the Northeast African country’s Red Sea coast.

“I have read the article published in American daily newspaper The Wall Street Journal. The news story is false and fabricated,” Ali told the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum 2024 in the southwestern Turkish city of Antalya on Sunday.

He made clear that Iran has “never asked Sudan to establish a base there. I paid a visit to Iran lately, and the issue was never raised during my stay.”

Earlier in the day, The Wall Street Journal claimed that Iran had sought permission from Sudanese authorities to set up a permanent naval base on its Red Sea coast. 

The newspaper quoted a senior Sudanese intelligence official as saying that Iran offered Sudan advanced weaponry, including a helicopter-carrying warship, in exchange for consent to build the base.

The official, Ahmed Hassan Mohamed, alleged that the base would have allowed Iran to “gather intelligence” and “station warships” near the vital Suez Canal and the Israeli-occupied territories.

Last October, Iran and Sudan agreed to restore diplomatic relations after seven years. The two sides agreed to deepen their ties in different areas that would serve the interests of both Muslim nations and would be conducive to regional stability.

Sudan cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 following the storming of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran.

Meanwhile, an ongoing power struggle between the Sudanese Armed Forces, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has plunged the African country into chaos since the fighting started on April 15, 2023.

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