On Friday, about 100 people held a protest rally outside parliament in the capital Rabat against the North African country’s normalization of relations with the Israeli regime after Tel Aviv recalled its ambassador, David Govrin, amid an investigation over sex abuse allegations. Govrin is facing allegations of exploiting several Moroccan women, sexual harassment and indecent exposure. There were also complaints of sexual harassment within the mission. Demonstrators, who burned an Israeli flag at the end of the rally, denounced both 59-year-old Govrin and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, four days after Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported a foreign ministry delegation had been sent to the Moroccan capital, following sexual abuse accusations against the envoy. Moroccans have been resolute in their opposition to the normalization deal and have also continued to voice their continued support for the liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories. “Today, we are in front of the parliament to protest against the hideous acts” committed by Govrin, said a pro-Palestinian activist. “Morocco’s dignity is not for sale, the normalization must end.” Israel and Morocco agreed on December 10, 2020 to normalize relations in a deal brokered with the help of the administration of former US President Donald Trump, making the North African country the fourth Arab state to normalize with the regime. The others were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. As part of the agreement, the US president agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara region, which has been at the center of a dispute with neighboring Algeria. Rabat had cut relations with Tel Aviv in 2000 following the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada.
The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy says the newly unveiled Shahid Soleimani warship will enable the IRGC Navy to establish a “strong presence” in high seas.
Brigadier General Alireza Tangsiri said in remarks publicized on Saturday that the name of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the US military in 2020, will resonate through all seas and oceans across the globe with Shahid (martyr) Soleimani warship joining the IRGC Navy’ combat fleets.
Tangsiri explained that the homegrown vessel, which is 67 meters long and 18 meters wide, enjoys various features, including stable balance in international waters, carrying helicopters, electronic warfare systems, air defense systems, and missile launchers of different classes.
“Today, with the addition of Martyr Haj Qassem Soleimani vessel to the IRGC Navy’s combat organization, the name of this high-ranking martyr resonates through all seas and oceans. They (enemies) will have to call out the name of Martyr Soleimani whenever it is necessary,” he said.
He called Shahid Soleimani warship a source of pride for the country, pointing out that every single component of the vessel has been produced by Iranian scientists and technicians in the IRGC and knowledge-based companies. They intended to materialize Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s order to “neutralize the sanctions,” he said.
“Shahid Soleimani vessel is a symbol of national production and a source of pride, and more attention must be paid to its construction and production process, because it has been built by the ideas and hands of the Islamic Revolution’s children under the harsh conditions of the cowardly sanctions imposed by the arrogant oppressors of the world,” he said.
The IRGC Navy unveiled the patrol-combat vessel last Monday, during a ceremony in the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.
Shahid Soleimani military watercraft is equipped with radar-evading stealth technology and has a much higher maneuverability and a much smaller turning radius compared to vessels of the same size, enabling it to implement various offensive and defensive missions.
The vessel runs on four indigenous high-power engines, which give it the chance to be quickly dispatched to the designated zone, and go on long-haul maritime missions without the need for coastal support as it defends the interests of the Islamic Republic in the high seas.
Outsiders only loot nations’ wealth, foment sedition in region: Tangsiri
Elsewhere in his remarks, Tangsiri said the IRGC Navy’s active presence in the Persian Gulf has increased the security of navigation in the area. He also warned against the presence of outsiders in the region.
“We have frankly told the countries of the region that with the help and will of each other, we can establish security in the Persian Gulf region by ourselves, as we have done so far,” he said.
The IRGC Navy chief asserted that no extra-regional country must be allowed to gain a foothold in the region on the pretext of establishing security because “foreigners and violators of the rights of the seas and marine life have done nothing but fomenting sedition, plundering nations’ wealth, and looting.”
Iran’s senior generals have repeatedly warned neighboring Persian Gulf countries against inviting outsiders, particularly the United States and the Israeli regime, to the region.
“The presence of Israel in the region is illegitimate,” Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said during Shahid Soleimani vessel’s unveiling ceremony last Monday.
“It not only does nothing to help [bolster] regional security but also foments insecurity” in the region, Baqeri warned, referring to normalization of ties between some Arab countries and the regime in Tel Aviv.