Iran/Zimbabwe cement bilateral ties
By Lovemore Ranga Mataire
Bonded by historical trade ties that have since been shaped by post-independence similar predicaments, Zimbabwe and Iran this week held bilateral talks meant to boost economic, social and cultural ties between the two countries.
The two countries, Zimbabwe and Iran, have enjoyed cordial political relations for more than 30 years and have lately been exploring ways of translating this into deeper economic ties.
Relations between the two countries got to a rolling start when the late Vice President Muzenda visited Iran in 1979 on the eve of Zimbabwe’s independence. Since that visit, four Iranian leaders have visited the country with President Mugabe reciprocating with an equal number of times.
As a show of the strong ties that exist between the two countries, President Mugabe led a delegation comprising of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services George Charamba and other senior government officials to the second inauguration of President Hossan Rouhani.
President Rouhani, who had a landslide victory in May this year was sworn in for his second term in office on August 5. The inauguration of Hassan Rouhani as the 7th President of Iran took place on two rounds, first on Saturday 3 August whereby he received his presidential precept from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and entered to the Sa’dad Palace, official residence of the president in a private ceremony.
The second was on the next day where he was sworn in for the office in the Parliament of Iran. This marked the start of the four-year term of President Rouhani as President.
It was two days after the swearing in ceremony that President Mugabe and his delegation met President Rouhani. The closed door session lasted for more than an hour. Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister Dr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi told the media that the two leaders bonded well.
“The area of energy, for example, was one area which they discussed. They also looked at the issue of pharmaceuticals. Iran has a very highly developed pharmaceutical industry and they discussed co-operation in that area.
“Iran also has a very highly developed science and technology sector. Again the two leaders discussed how the two countries can co-operate in that area in the context of higher education and our new focus on STEM,” said Dr Mumbengegwi.
He said discussions also dwelt on agricultural co-operation and the need to resuscitate existing agreements through the Zimbabwe-Iran Joint Commission. The meeting ended with President Mugabe extending an invitation to his Iranian counterpart to visit Zimbabwe.