The executions of four people in Iran have managed to instil fear in Iranian society, calming the wave of protests that erupted in September last year. As a result, the Iranian government has been able to divert its attention to new goals on its agenda, including expanding its influence in several geostrategic regions. One of the most important of these is the Maghreb, where Tehran aims to gain a foothold through its support for the Polisario Front and the deployment of Revolutionary Guard forces in Mauritania.

This move by the Ayatollah regime is of concern in Morocco. The diplomatic crisis between Rabat and Algiers does not seem close to being resolved, and sovereignty over the Sahara remains a red line between the two administrations. It is in this situation that Iran wants to use its support for Abdelmajdid Tebboune’s country to its advantage and, at the same time, to put pressure on Rabat.

Iran’s increased military presence in Mauritania is yet another sign of the regime’s support for Algeria. According to sources consulted by the Assabah media, the Revolutionary Guard has instructions to expand its activity in several African countries, Mauritania being the most important, although not the only one. Senegal is another country that is already experiencing an increase in the presence of its forces, which a decade ago led to clashes between Iranians and Senegalese, and the rupture of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Dakar.

In addition, the Al Quds Forces – the armed wing of Islamic Jihad – are also seeking closer relations and cooperation with the Polisario. Observers believe that Mauritania is at the top of the Iranian government’s list of priorities in order to gradually position itself in the Maghreb. However, they also note that Mauritania has no intention of allowing Iran’s advance, as they see a clear intention by the country led by Ali Khamenei to involve their country in a war with Morocco in which they are not willing to enter.

Morocco, as one of the regional leaders, fears the expansion not only of Iranian forces, but of its extremist ideas. There is an intention to spread Shiism in North Africa and impose its vision. Hence, Rabat has a dual concern and is trying to counter Iran’s religious influence. But if that concern is twofold, so is the threat. All Iranian activity is preceded by the approval and even support of Algeria, which seems determined to push its ties with Iran to the limit.

The trend in Algiers is very clear. Iran tends to become a strong ally of the Algerians as they deepen their relations with Russia. Its manoeuvres in Béchar coordinated with Moscow’s forces is only the beginning of what is expected to be the first of several exercises to take place in 2023. These manoeuvres, which Algeria had intended to keep secret, have been confirmed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who has also announced that further military exercises are expected to take place in the region near the border with Morocco in November this year.

Source » atalayar