Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Outgoing Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Ahmad Erfanian yesterday bade farewell to President Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa Offices and called for the boosting of trade ties between the two countries.
Speaking after meeting the President, Mr Erfanian said the sound political relations between Zimbabwe and Iran had not effectively been transformed into meaningful economic ties.
“Despite the excellent political relationship between the two countries, the level of trade is low. We should try to give a chance to the private sector to play a more important role between our two countries.
“During my stay in your beautiful country, I have managed to further strengthen mutual and international relations between our two countries. We have achieved some goals and I hope we will be able to do more.”
Mr Erfanian said Iran was ready to deepen cooperation between the two countries.
“My tour of duty in Zimbabwe is coming to an end. I will be leaving your beautiful country shortly. We really have enjoyed staying in your beautiful country. I am happy to say Iran and Zimbabwe enjoy cordial relations dating back to the liberation struggle.
“Iran is ready to further strengthen its existing relations with Zimbabwe. We value our relations with Zimbabwe. We hope they will grow from strength to strength. There are a lot of opportunities for cooperation between the two nations,” he said.
Iran, with its vast oil reserves, shares common challenges with Zimbabwe as both countries have had illegal sanctions imposed on them by the West.
But Mr Erfanian, while condemning the embargo, said it would not hinder their progress and foreign policy.
“Firstly, I would like to strongly condemn the illegal sanctions against Iran and Zimbabwe. They are affecting the lives of ordinary people. They are not constructive.
“Iran has come a long way. We have experienced a lot of ups and down concerning sanctions. Despite all the sanctions against my country, Iran has achieved many successes. We believe that these sanctions will not stop our progress and will not change our foreign policy,” he said.
Zimbabwe and Iran have been cooperating in the sectors of media, culture and agriculture among others.