President Ahmadinejad of Iran greets President Mugabe of Zimbabwe in Teheran. The two nations have signed new trade agreements involving oil and other projects.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File.
President Mugabe returned home early yesterday morning from a three-day State visit to Iran which saw Harare and Teheran sign six agreements to intensify political and economic co-operation.
Cde Mugabe and his delegation, which included the First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe, and four Cabinet ministers, touched down just after midnight and were met by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Cde Chris Mushohwe, senior Government officials and service chiefs.
Bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Iran are expected to be taken to a level higher following the agreements to co-operate in agriculture, oil industry, economic, technical and education aid.
The two countries’ delegations also issued a joint political communiqué and signed the minutes of their Fifth Joint Commission meeting, confirming their satisfaction at the outcome.
In the joint communiqué, the two countries emphasised the importance of expanding and strengthening mutual relations on political, economic and cultural co-operation and develop common positions on issues of mutual interest.
They agreed to increase exchange of technical and specialised delegations between them to strengthen mutual political, economic and cultural relations.
Zimbabwe and Iran also agreed to strengthen co-operation between the private sectors of the two countries and urged them to participate in the trade and economic activities between the two countries.
The two countries agreed to promote regional co-operation through organisations such as the African Union. Views were exchanged on the Middle East and the delegations noted with concern the massacre of Palestinians and recognised their inalienable right to self-determination.
They condemned the vicious crimes perpetrated by the Zionist regime and the silence by the international community over the killings of Palestinians. The two countries expressed worry over the situation in Iraq and its drifting towards a civil war and called for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops.
Zimbabwe and Iran showed their appreciation for the efforts of the AU to bring peace to conflict areas in Africa.
"Both sides agreed to continue their co-operation at the international level through the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations.
"Both sides reaffirmed the basic and inalienable right of all states signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without any discrimination," read the communiqué.
The two countries welcomed the co-operation by Iran with the International Atomic Energy Agency to resolve remaining issues and emphasised that no pressure or improper intervention be exerted on the IAEA fact-finding mission.
"Both sides strongly emphasised that concerns and differences should be resolved through dialogue and that the resumption of talks should be based on mutual respect and without any pre-conditions."
The two countries also emphasised the importance of equal treatment of different aspects of human rights issues including political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development.
They criticised super power unilateralism and neo-colonialism and pledged to uphold principles of multilateralism as well as continue pressing for the reform of the United Nations and its organs particularly the Security Council.
President Mugabe wound up his visit by touring a tractor manufacturing plant in Tabriz.
Zimbabwe Signs Fuel Deal With Iran
By Peta Thornycroft
24 November 2006
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, center right, reviews an Iranian guard of honor with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center left, during an official welcoming ceremony in Tehran, Iran, 20 Nov. 2006
Zimbabwe's state press agency says President Robert Mugabe has secured a fuel deal with Iran during his state visit to Tehran this week. For VOA, Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare that Zimbabwe's state fuel supplier continues to be desperately short of fuel because the country lacks foreign currency for essential imports.
Mr. Mugabe has returned to Zimbabwe and says he has secured a pledge from Iran for its technicians to investigate whether it is possible to resuscitate the country's only oil refinery. The refinery, in Zimbabwe's eastern border town Mutare, was forced to close almost 40 years ago, when the world imposed trade and diplomatic sanctions against the then white ruled Rhodesia.
The refinery was built to process imported Iranian crude oil.
Now Zimbabwe depends on imported refined fuel, which it mainly gets by road from South Africa.
It says it has insufficient foreign currency to import fuel in bulk and pump a minimum of 30,000 liters at a time along a pipeline from nearest port, Beira in Mozambique to Zimbabwe.
Mr. Mugabe said during his visit to Tehran he has also secured several other agreements for direct aid and Iranian assistance with energy, education technology and agricultural projects, but no details have been revealed either in Harare or Tehran. Zimbabwe has also said it will allow Iran to explore unspecified mineral deposits in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's energy and power development minister, Mike Nyambuya, said the Iranians made a number of proposals to meet Zimbabwe's needs in fuel and oil products, which were welcome.
Mr. Mugabe was hailed as a hero in Tehran for his anti-West stance. The Iranian president said, "We are going to stand side by side with the government and people of Zimbabwe."
Iran is one of the countries Mugabe has been warming to as part of the "Look East" policy, partly forced by Zimbabwe's isolation from the West over controversial land reforms and allegedly fraud-marred elections in 2000 and 2002.
Mr. Mugabe claims that Western sanctions have brought Zimbabwe's economy to its knees.
The United States and the European Union have refused to issue travel visas to Mr. Mugabe and leaders in the ruling Zanu PF party, but trade between Zimbabwe and the west continues normally. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has branded Zimbabwe and Iran as among the world's "outposts of tyranny."
Zimbabwe's economy began collapsing after the commercial agricultural sector, which provided 40 percent of annual foreign exchange, was decimated during the past six years.
Since 2000, Mr. Mugabe took more than 4,000 white-owned commercial farms and gave them to members of the ruling elite and landless peasants.
Agricultural economists say statistics show that Zimbabwe's farming production has slumped to a fifth of what it was prior to the land seizures.