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Islamic Rep. loses one of its few remaining allies.

The Islamic Republic seems to have dismissed Sudan as a friend and ally by cutting off all of Iran's funding for development projects in that country.

That leaves Iran with only Syria, North Korea and Venezuela as firm allies.

According to the Sudan Tribune, the English language daily in the African country, a senior Sudanese official disclosed Saturday that Iran has stopped sending funds for the projects Iran had been supporting in Sudan.

As a result, the Sudanese government has now terminated its contracts with several Iranian companies that were implementing the projects.

Ahmed Gasim, minister of physical infrastructure, said Tehran stopped funding for major development projects, including a bridge linking Khartoum North and Tuti Island and the Abu Si'id water plant in Omdurman.

He noted that President Ahmadi-nejad promised during his visit to Sudan in 2012 to grant a loan for the bridge and the water station. "An Iranian company started to build the bridge, but its work has stopped because Tehran stopped sending funds," he said. Gasim didn't say when the Iranian government stopped funding those projects.

Sudan's relations with Iran soured abruptly last September when Khartoum closed Iran's cultural centers and ordered the cultural attache to leave the country within 72 hours.

The orders followed complaints from religious circles as well as the media about Shiite theology being spread among Sudanese youth by the Iranian cultural centers.

Since then, Sudan has shifted its foreign allegiance, warming up ties with the Persian Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Sudan also agreed to join the Saudi-led air campaign against Shiite rebels in Yemen in May. That likely was the coup de grace for Iran-Sudan ties.

The developing split in the Muslim world between Sunnis and Shiites seems to have prompted Sudan to reassess its ties with Iran.

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Title Annotation:Sudan
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jul 31, 2015
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