Senegal recalls its Iran ambassador over arms seizure


Senegal has recalled its ambassador to Tehran after Iran failed to provide a “satisfactory” explanation for arms sent from Iran and discovered in a Nigerian port in October, officials said Wednesday.

Senegal, judging that “explanations provided on this affair by the Iranian side are not satisfactory, has decided to recall its ambassador for consultations,” the foreign ministry said in a communique transmitted to AFP.

Senegal and Iran enjoyed strong diplomatic ties until 13 containers loaded with arms and munitions were found in October aboard the Everest, a ship belonging to the French-based company CMA CGM, in the port of Apapa in the Nigerian capital Lagos.

The foreign ministry said the arms were bound for a “state in western Africa,” without naming the exact destination.

Tehran has said that the arms shipment belonged to a private company and was not destined for Nigeria but for another “west African country,” later identified as Gambia.

Gambia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on November 22 following the disclosure of the arms shipment.

Nigeria on November 12 informed the United Nations Security Council of the illegal shipment, citing a possible breach of a international sanctions against Iran relating to its controversial nuclear programme.

Senegal’s media and observers said Dakar feared the arms consignment was destined for the separatist rebels in southern Senegal.

The foreign ministry expressed “deep concern” about the danger to peace and security such an arms shipment posed to the west African region in a communique to Tehran on November 13.

According to the French-based shipping company CMA-CGM, the shipment was loaded in the Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas by a business man whose name did not figure on an international list of banned traders.b AFP