Morocco cuts ties with Iran over Sahara weapons dispute

Morocco has severed relations with Iran, accusing it of arming Polisario Front independence fighters in the Moroccan-annexed Western Sahara.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said he told his Iranian counterpart of the decision on Tuesday. Morocco's ambassador to Tehran has left, while the Iranian Embassy in Morocco will be closed immediately.

Bourita says Morocco has proof that Iran-backed militant movement Hezbollah has provided training and financial support to Polisario independence fighters since 2016, and sent weapons last month.

Hezbollah denied the allegations.

Bourita insists the decision to sever ties is unrelated to Israel's allegations this week that Iranian leaders covered up a nuclear weapons program before signing an international agreement in 2015.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975 and fought Polisario fighters until a U.N.-brokered cease-fire.