Saudi Arabia ally Comoros breaks off relations with Iran

MORONI, Comoros (AFP) - Indian Ocean archipelago and Saudi Arabia ally the Comoros said on Friday (Jan 15) it had cut diplomatic relations with Iran over what it termed Teheran's "aggression" towards Riyadh.

A Foreign Ministry statement said the Comoros viewed Teheran as "interfering" in "the internal affairs of certain countries" and "not respecting diplomatic conventions".

Comoros' Foreign Ministry said it had called on the Iranian ambassador to clear his desk.

The move came a week after the Comoros, a member of the Arab League, recalled its own ambassador from Teheran judging that Iran has created a climate of "gratuitous aggression" towards Riyadh.

Relations between majority Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia dived after the Jan 2 ransacking of the Saudi embassy in Teheran and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad, Iran's second city.

The ransacking came amid anger over Riyadh's execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent cleric from the kingdom's Shiite minority.

Following the execution, Riyadh severed diplomatic relations with Teheran.

Several Arab countries followed suit and severed or reduced relations with Iran.

"One cannot violate with impunity the sovereignty of diplomatic missions," the Comoros Foreign Ministry director-general Ahamada Hamadi told AFP, referring to the ransacking.

The three islands of Anjouan, Grand Comore and Moheli that make up the Comoros have a total population of just under 800,000 people, nearly all of whom are Sunni Muslims.

Since gaining independence from France in 1975, the impoverished archipelago has witnessed more than 20 attempted coups, four of which were successful, but it has enjoyed relative stability in recent years.