Senegal recalled its ambassador to Iran, citing “grave concerns” about an illegal shipment of firearms concealed in shipping containers and confiscated by customs officials in Lagos in October.
The shipment of rockets, grenades and mortars “undermines the peace and security of the West African sub-region,” Senegal’s Foreign Minister Madicke Niang said in an e-mailed statement today. “The explanations for this affair provided by the Iranian party have not been sufficient,” he said. Iran accepted it is the source of the shipment, Nigerian Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia said Nov. 12.
Gambia, Senegal’s neighbor and the country initially identified as the destination of the shipment, denied the claims, Agence France-Presse said today. On Nov. 23, Gambia cut ties with Iran and ordered diplomats out of the country over the shipment, the news agency reported.
The move comes amid what were growing diplomatic and economic ties between the Senegal and Iran. On Dec. 12, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visited the predominately Islamic West African nation and “conveyed an explanation” about the arm shipments, the Senegalese statement said. A day later, Mottaki was fired by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and replaced with Ali Akbar Salehi, the atomic energy chief.
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