Iran not after Africa’s wealth, but its progress: President Raeisi
Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi says Tehran seeks to enhance relations with African countries to help those nations progress and thrive.
“In the past centuries, Western countries have looted the wealth of African countries by exercising domination and establishing colonial rule,” Raeisi said while addressing the first Scientific and Economic Cooperation meeting between Iran and Africa on Monday.
“But for the Islamic Republic of Iran, the development of relations with Africa is not for the wealth of this region, as [Iran] seeks the progress and welfare of all nations, including African nations,” he said.
He added that Iran and Western African countries should become aware of the capacities, resources, and grounds for cooperation and exchanging their experiences.
Despite the extensive sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic, he noted, Iran has managed to make remarkable progress in the fields of technology, engineering, medical equipment, medicine, nanotechnology, agricultural equipment, biological technologies, and modern technologies.
Raeisi also pointed to the common, foreign-backed terrorist threats faced by Iran and Africa, saying, “With its human and natural talents and capacities, Africa can make significant progress through unity, coherence, and resistance against colonial policies.”
Addressing the same meeting, Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber reiterated that Tehran seeks to expand cordial relations with Western African countries. He noted that the Iranian administration is seriously pursuing this “principled policy.”
“Iran has a realistic and up-to-date understanding of the realities and needs of Africa as a talented and dynamic continent with a bright future, and declares its serious determination to promote relations in all fields, especially in economic and commercial sectors,” he added.
Under President Raeisi, Tehran has attempted to streamline its foreign policy priorities by including regional, Eastern, and African nations, instead of relying on ties with Western countries, some of which have either imposed or enabled sanctions against the country.
Iranian Trade Minister Reza Fatemi Amin said on Monday that the country eyes increased presence in markets in West Africa and plans to sign nearly $2 billion worth of trade contracts and memoranda of understanding with the countries of that region.
He added that Iranian mining and metal companies have a good opportunity to invest in projects in West Africa.