Thursday, April 22, 2010

Iranian Leader Ahmadinejad Jets Into Zimbabwe Today

Iranian leader Ahmadinejad jets in today

Herald Reporters

IRANIAN President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad jets into the country this afternoon to officially open the 51st edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo tomorrow.

Presidents Mugabe and President Ahmadinejad will first oversee the signing of agreements reached at yesterday’s meeting of the Zimbabwe-Iran Joint Commission in Harare before travelling to Bulawayo for the official ZITF opening.

Thereafter, President Ahmadinejad jets out to Uganda for a State visit.

At the Sixth Session of the Zimbabwe-Iran Joint Commission, the two countries agreed to constitute a Joint Permanent Implementation Mechanism.

In a communiqué issued last night, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Iranian Co-operatives Minister Mohammad Abbasi re-affirmed the two countries’ commitment to promotion of regional and international peace and stability.

The Joint Commission noted the significance of Iran’s hosting of an international nuclear disarmament conference to promote global peace and promote South-South co-operation through the G15 and Non-Aligned Movement.

"The Joint Commission expressed satisfaction with the progress that has been made in the implementation of the tractor project.

"They noted in particular, the recent delivery of kits for 56 tractors which will be assembled in Harare.

"The Joint Commission further noted that this is the first phase of a joint venture project that will culminate in the establishment of a forging and foundry plant in Zimbabwe."

The two sides also discussed joint ventures in manufacturing, energy, agriculture, mining and water management.

They agreed to establish a joint investment company to identify and implement mutually beneficial banking, finance and insurance programmes.

Zimbabwe welcomed Iran’s participation at the ZITF as the largest foreign exhibitor.

The two countries agreed to expedite negotiations on memoranda of understanding in information communication technology, and customs, insurance, economic and technical co-operation.

"Negotiations are also continuing in the fields of telecommunications, seismology and meteorology in which Iran would assist Zimbabwe in capacity building through training and development experts," the communiqué said.

In agriculture, they undertook to establish a joint agriculture committee to facilitate co-operation in soil and water management, animal husbandry, agriculture research and education, aquaculture and capacitating the Zimbabwe’s Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Agritex.

"Iran undertook to consider Zimbabwe’s request to support institutions caring for orphans and other vulnerable children and capacitating the Department of Social Services to improve delivery of social protection programmes through study tours and training sessions."

In addition, Zimbabwe and Iran agreed to explore co-operation in waste recycling, air pollution modeling and management of hazardous materials.

The Joint Commission noted steps taken by Masvingo and the Iranian City of Shiraz to negotiate a twinning MoU.

A raft of other agreements were reached at yesterday’s meeting.

Zimbabwe and Iran share a common history dating back to 13th Century when the two traded in gold and ivory.

Both nations were borne of protracted armed revolutions and continue to co-operate in opposing imperialism.

Both Zimbabwe and Iran have been at the end of unjustified Western attacks and both have illegal sanctions imposed on them.

The continued growth of bilateral relations has seen the MDC-T run council bestowing the Freedom of the City of Bindura to the then Iranian Ambassador in Harare, Mr Rasoul Momeni.

This is despite claims by some MDC-T functionaries that they are not pleased with President Ahmadinejad’s visit.

Iran’s success story

By Pascal Mukondiwa
Zimbabwe Herald

After emerging from a devastating Gulf War (Iran-Iraq War), Iranians have demonstrated their resilience by rebuilding the country’s economy to a point now they are trying to boost electricity output for further development.

The Gulf War wreaked devastation of unimaginable proportions on Iran’s infrastructure so much that even economic experts had predicted that it would be impossible to revive the economy "in the foreseeable future’’.

But about 26 years on, Iran is now concentrating on developing nuclear power for electricity generation, in spite of the constant harassment it faces from the United States and its Western allies.

Iranian infrastructure was totally destroyed, especially in the western province of Khuzestan that shares its common border with Iraq.

The greater part of Khuzestan Province was under occupation from Iraqi forces for almost two years.

Buildings on the outskirts of Avhaz the capital of Khuzestan were rendered uninhabitable in a bomb blitz. Grain silos in the city were left leaning and derelict after the bases had been hit by incendiary bombs that burnt the entire contents.

But it was the countryside that was laid waste and left desolate. The town of Hoveizeh was razed to the ground, leaving only two buildings that the Iraqis used as observation posts. This town has been home to 70 000 people.

As we were being shown around the rubble in February of 1985, an Iraq air force jet zoomed into attack. There was nowhere for us to hide. It eventually bombed a makeshift settlement about 500 metres away, killing a child and a builder at a building site.

Further on, another town of Susengerd, it was the same story. No soul in sight and all the buildings destroyed. It appeared the Iraqis must have been heavily mechanised to be able to exert destruction of that magnitude.

The twin cities of Abadan and Khorramshar were an eyesore. These were built close to each other near the mouth of the Shat-Al-Arab waterway. Just how low the human mind could sink to inflict such destruction was simply impossible to imagine.

The vast oil reservoirs in Abadan, once said to be the biggest oil exporting port in the world, had been hit by fire bombs. These caused the reservoirs to explode causing the shells to shrink beyond repair.

This was only part of the destruction Iraq inflicted in many other parts of Iran.

Iran is a country endowed with vast resources. It is home to the priceless Persian rug and rich history stretching back for thousands of years.

But all these God-given gifts have turned out to be a curse to their Iranian people, who have constantly been harried by Western nations that want these resources for their own consumption.

The trouble with the West led by the United States is that they regard all the precious resources found anywhere in the world as their own.

Woe betide, any so-called third world leader or nation as a whole that dares stand up in defence of their worth.

Iran has not been spared of this harassment ever since oil was found in the Middle East state. But there are times when the West finds the going easy.

This is when nations targeted to be plundered are found to be in the hands of supine, pliant and "friendly" leadership. And the US had a field day in Iran when it was under the reign of Shah Reza.

An Iranian man told me in 1985: "Our oil, expensive Persian carpets and priceless pieces of artifacts of historical value were plundered. Our women were defiled by US servicemen in the days of the Shah. The Shah could have not cared less that his country’s wealth was being plundered since he himself led a life of luxury and comfort.

The man had had eleven palaces built for himself on a raised leafy hillside just outside the Iranian capital city of Teheran.

One of the palaces that belonged to his wife had a built-in wardrobe that extended from one wall to the other.

This wardrobe had 100 pairs of ladies shoes of rare quality.

It was also choc-a-block with dresses of exotic quality and design and a fruit bowl perched on a pedestal at the entrance was moulded of pure gold.

This was the moral decay that the Islamic Revolution, led by the spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, set out to dislodge.

The Shah was toppled and kicked out in 1979.

The revolution then turned on the US.

Students of the University of Teheran stormed the US embassy. They held embassy staff hostage for a whole year.

It was during this period that the US administration, under President Jimmy Carter, planned to stage a secret military rescue mission.

A helicopter-borne team was sneaked into Iran and assembled at some remote rendezvous in the vast Iranian desert.

But according to media reports of the day, as the team took off by helicopter for Teheran, a massive blast of wind, the strength of a gale force, just rose from nowhere and made the helicopters to crash into each other thus causing the mission to be aborted.

But, surely "Little Iran" had cocked a snook in Uncle Sam’s face and could not be left to go scot free or else the rest of the world would follow suit and play Aunt Sally with the "world’s most powerful nation".

What followed was the Gulf War. This was one of the most devastating wars in the Middle East. And the big powers, ever careful not to show their involvement, tactfully played their hidden hand.

President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, which is Iran’s neighbour to the west, attacked Iran. Saddam was the product of the US’s secret forces.

--Pascal Mukondiwa is a former editor of The Sunday Mail and also worked for The Herald and The Sunday News.

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