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Sunday, 29 March 2009

Iran to complete hospital that Israel started building in Mauritania

Just a few weeks after the Israeli ambassador to Mauritania was ordered to leave the country, with encouragement from Iran, the regime in Tehran is attempting to take control of a hospital for cancer research and treatment in the Mauritanian capital, which has symbolized relations between Jerusalem and Nouakchott.

Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, visited Mauritania on Wednesday, marking the first such visit since 1982. Although the visit lasted only six hours it included a stop at the hospital known by locals as "the Israeli hospital."

The hospital project has been stalled since Mauritania severed relations with Israel earlier this month. There are reports that Iran paid the Mauritania government about $10 million to kick out the Israeli ambassador.

During his visit to the hospital, Mottaki promised that Iran will "replace" Israel and equip the hospital as needed. Mottaki praised the government of Mauritania for suspending relations with Israel, saying "Our enemies in the Middle East have reached the end of the road." More