Harare (New Ziana) – Outgoing Iranian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ahmad Erfanian on Wednesday condemned illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West, saying these were hurting ordinary people the most.
The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe two decades ago to force the government to re-think its land reform policy.
The land reforms involved compulsory acquisition of excess farmland from white farmers to resettle landless peasants.
The sanctions are estimated to have cost the economy nearly US$100 billion.
Erfanian said sanctions affected ordinary people the most, contrary to claims by Western countries that they were only targeted at selected top government officials.
He said Iran was also under the same unjustified sanctions imposed by the US, but was finding ways to circumvent them.
“I should take this opportunity to strongly condemn the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe and Iran. We believe that these sanctions are affecting the daily life of the ordinary people, they are not constructive,” he told journalists after bidding farewell to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“Iran has come a long way, we have experienced a lot of ups and downs in the last 41 years, we have (become) accustomed to the sanctions, and despite all the sanctions and pressures against the country, Iran has achieved many successes, we believe that these sanctions will not stop our progress and they will not change our foreign policy.”
Meanwhile, Erfanian said although Zimbabwe and Iran enjoy cordial political relations, there was still room to improve economic ties.
“Iran is ready to further strengthen existing relations with Zimbabwe; we value our friendship with Zimbabwe I believe that the relationship will grow from strength to strength.
“There are a lot of opportunities for cooperation between the two nations. Despite excellent political relations, unfortunately the level of trade is low between the two countries and we should try to give a chance to the private sector to play a more important role between our two countries,” he said.
“During my stay here in your beautiful country, I have managed to further strengthen mutual international relations between our two countries and we have achieved some goals and I hope we will be able to do more.”