Zim/Iran seek improved economic relations
Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe and Iran should leverage on their close political relations to improve their trade and economic cooperation, a senior government official said on Monday.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade permanent secretary James Manzou said this at the opening of the mid-term review of the Zimbabwe-Iran Joint Permanent Commission at a local hotel.
Manzou said while the two countries enjoyed excellent political relations even at international fora such as the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, the level of cooperation was not the same on economic relations.
“Given such a rich background of cooperation we should strive to develop and expand our trade and economic relations for the benefit of our two countries and people,” he said.
“Zimbabwe and Iran are the innocent victims of illegal and ruinous sanctions by some Western countries over our sovereign decisions to pursue independent paths of development. In the spirit of South-South cooperation, we should harness our resources to further develop our two nations so that we reduce our dependence on some of these countries.
“Our score card does not reflect well, the very close bonds of friendship that we enjoy at a political level. I therefore urge our two delegations to work out between now and our next Ministerial meeting so that we deliver tangible outcomes that benefit our two countries.”
He said a recent visit by an Iranian delegation to Zimbabwe had exposed the potential for closer cooperation in the economic sector.
The delegation expressed interest in venturing into Zimbabwe’s telecommunications and geospatial sectors, he explained.
“Such exchanges are commendable as they lay the foundation for collaboration in the economic sector,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Iranian director general for International Affairs in the Iranian Ministry of Cooperatives, Labour and Welfare Hamed Forouzan said the fact that both countries were under Western sanctions should provide impetus for further collaboration.
“That increases the need to expand our bilateral and economic relations,” he said through an interpreter.
The Zimbabwe-Iran Joint Permanent Commission was established in 1991 and has facilitated improved relations on the diplomatic and economic fronts between the two countries.
Iran has made major investments in Zimbabwe in the agriculture and textile sectors.