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President Raeisi: Africa land of opportunities that shouldn’t be overlooked

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi speaks to reporters at Mehrabad Airport, Tehran, Iran, on July 14, 2023, upon return from his three-nation tour of Africa. (Photo by

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi stresses the need to promote ties with African nations, describing the continent as the land of opportunities where its potential should not be overlooked.

"We value our ties with the African continent, just as we do with the countries of Asia and other regions, and we should not overlook this continent, which is full of opportunities," Raeisi said at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport early on Friday upon return from his African tour, which took him to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

He said the first objective of the trip was to boost the Islamic Republic of Iran's "strategic depth." 

Seeing the faith, anti-colonialism spirit, and courage of the Iranian people following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, African nations were drawn to this Revolution and the system that came out of it, Raeisi said.

The Iranian president noted that Iran, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has forged diplomatic ties with many African states, and these countries are keen on the advancement of relationships with Tehran in different areas.

Raeisi also stressed the need for enhancing relations with African countries, saying that the states are gifted with abundant natural resources and mines, and enjoy many potentials and areas for closer cooperation.

He said his three-nation tour of Africa was also aimed at strengthening economic and trade relations with those countries and entering new markets with knowledge-based products made by Iranian experts.

The Iranian president mentioned the provision of raw materials as another goal of his African tour, saying that the issue of extra-territorial cultivation was also among the discussed subjects.

According to Raeisi, agreements have been made for barter deals with African countries where Iran would get basic goods in return for supplying petrochemical products.

Scientific and technological exchanges were another topic discussed during the trip, he said, adding, "Offices were accordingly established in all the three countries to take an effective step in facilitating and strengthening our communication and cooperation in this area."

Pointing to "good meetings" with entrepreneurs and businessmen who expressed their readiness to expand business ties between Iran and Africa, Raeisi said ways to overcome existing challenges were also explored.

“Greater work needs to be done to expand relations with African states in political, economic and cultural fields more than ever,” Raeisi said, adding that improving bilateral cooperation with these countries will result in regional and international cooperation.

"We share common views with these (African) countries on opposing unilateralism, [defending] human rights, protecting family values and fighting against moral corruption and organized crime," the Iranian president said.

He described Kenya as the gateway to East Africa, stressing that closer ties with Nairobi will strengthen interactions in other spheres.

"We believe that the world is not limited to the West," Raeisi said, stressing that Iran's foreign policy is based on engaging with the whole world. "Africa is as important as America and Asia," the Iranian president said.

A total of 21 documents on cooperation in different areas were signed during the three-state tour to Africa.

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