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Sudan keeps up ‘amicable’ ties to Iran
Israel claims Sudanese aid transfer of weapons
The visit underlined the alliance between two nations that have become pariahs in the world — Sudan because of the bloody conflict in Darfur that resulted in war crimes charges against its president, and Iran because of its suspected nuclear program and support of Islamic militants.
A Sudanese military spokesman called the visit an “exchange of amicable relations” between the two nations.
Gen. Bashir is shunned in most of the world because the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against him over the long, bloody Darfur conflict in his country, charging him with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Israel has not confirmed or denied involvement in the blast, which killed four people.
Israeli officials claim that Sudan is playing a key role in an Iranian-backed network of arms shipments to militant groups like Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah, which exerts significant power in Lebanon.
“We would like to deny any link between Sudanese military production and any foreign party,” said a statement from the Sudanese Foreign Ministry.
Accounts vary on the extent of Iranian involvement at the Yarmouk Complex, the site of last week’s explosion, one of two state-owned military factories in Khartoum.
There are unconfirmed claims that Iran is involved in some capacity at the factory, and that the factory could be used to assemble Iranian arms bound for Islamic militants.
“The nature of the Sudanese-Iranian cooperation is mysterious, but there were reports that there are military expertise and experts involved,” said Hani Raslan of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.
Mr. Raslan also said he suspects the attack on the plant was part of an effort to weaken the Iranian arms smuggling network.
Gen. Sameh Seif Elyazal, a former Egyptian army general, told The Associated Press he learned from private conversations with Israel officials conveyed through reliable sources that the strike was carried out against weapons assembled in the factory “under Iranian supervision,” bound for the Hamas and Hezbollah.
Iran also has invested in water and engineering projects during Gen. Bashir’s more than two decades in power. Iran’s efforts to maintain Sudan as a reliable ally would enable it to transfer weapons through Sudan’s vast territory.
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