Iran slams Sudan-Israel peace deal as 'phoney'

Teheran accuses Khartoum of paying 'ransom' for US to delist it as state sponsor of terrorism

US President Donald Trump speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau on the phone, about the Sudan-Israel peace agreement, in the Oval Office on Friday. It marked the third Arab government, after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to s
US President Donald Trump speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau on the phone, about the Sudan-Israel peace agreement, in the Oval Office on Friday. It marked the third Arab government, after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to set aside hostilities with Israel recently.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TEHERAN • Iran's foreign ministry yesterday described a US-brokered Sudan-Israel peace deal to normalise relations as "phoney" and accused Khartoum of paying a "ransom" in return for Washington removing it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The deal agreed on Friday marked the third Arab government, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, to set aside hostilities with Israel in the last two months.

It also makes Sudan, technically at war with Israel since its 1948 foundation, the fifth Arab country to forge diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

"Pay enough ransom, close your eyes to the crimes against Palestinians, then you'll be taken off the so-called 'terrorism' black list," the ministry tweeted in English. "Obviously, the list is as phoney as the US fight against terrorism. Shameful."

US President Donald Trump announced last Monday that he would take Sudan off the list once it had deposited US$335 million (S$455 million) it had pledged to pay in compensation.

Khartoum has since placed the funds in a special escrow account for victims of Al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

"HUGE win today for the United States and for peace in the world," tweeted President Trump, who faces a Nov 3 election in which he is trailing in the polls.

"Sudan has agreed to a peace and normalisation agreement with Israel! With the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, that's THREE Arab countries to have done so in only a matter of weeks. More will follow!"

Mr Trump also said the Palestinians "are wanting to do something" but offered no proof.

Palestinian leaders have condemned recent Arab overtures to Israel as a betrayal of their nationalist cause for statehood in Israeli-occupied territories.

They have refused to engage with the Trump administration, seeing it as biased in favour of Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman said yesterday that ignoring the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights will not achieve peace and stability in the Middle East.


Leaders of the parties in the US-brokered deal (from left): President of the Sudanese Transitional Council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamduk. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"All types of Arab normalisation with Israel are condemned and rejected because it (the normalisation) contradicts the legitimate Arab and international resolutions," said Mr Abu Rudeineh.

The UAE and Bahrain recently became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to agree to formal relations with Israel, forged largely through shared fears of Iran.

The military and civilian leaders of Sudan's transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel.

A sticking point in the negotiations was Sudan's insistence that any announcement of Khartoum's delisting from terrorism designation not be explicitly linked to relations with Israel.

Sudan's 1993 designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates to its toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir and has made it difficult for the transitional government in Khartoum to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign financing.

Germany welcomed the latest deal as a boost to stability in the Middle East and paid tribute to the US role in brokering it.

"Following Israel's normalisation agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, this is another important step towards greater stability and a more peaceful relationship between Israel and its Arab neighbours," the German foreign ministry said.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 25, 2020, with the headline 'Iran slams Sudan-Israel peace deal as 'phoney''. Print Edition | Subscribe