Mabasa Sasa in Tehran, Iran
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday joined fellow world leaders and/or their representatives from scores of countries for the inauguration of Iran’s Mr Hassan Rouhani.
And one of the first bilateral engagements the Iranian leader will have on the first full day of his second term will be with Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government today.
The two countries are expected to discuss how best they can leverage on long-standing historical ties — whose major pivots were the 13th century trade in ivory and gold, and the 1979 visit to the Middle Eastern country by late Vice-President and national hero Dr Simon Muzenda soon after the Islamic Revolution of that year.
The thrust is likely to be on deepening trade between two nations whose fierce spirit of independence has seen them sanctioned by the United States: over land reclamation in Zimbabwe’s case; and for pursuing a civilian nuclear energy programme in the case of Iran.
Zimbabwe and Iran have been trying to grow co-operation in areas such as agri-related technologies, textiles, SMEs and ICTs.
Co-operation is largely guided by the Zimbabwe-Iran Joint Commission, and has also included availing of scholarships for Zimbabweans to study in Iran.
Yesterday, President Mugabe and other leaders and their representatives from more than 100 countries were at Parliament Building in Tehran for President Rouhani’s inauguration.
President Rouhani started his second term two days after going through the process of “Tanfiz”.
Tanfiz is the act of validation into the post by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in which the latter grants approval for the winner of the Presidential election to take office ahead of a swearing-in ceremony.
President Rouhani was first elected Iran’s leader in 2013 and he won another term in May with 57 percent of the vote.
President Mugabe was accompanied to the swearing-in ceremony by his delegation, which includes Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Secretary for Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba.
After taking the oath of office, President Rouhani pledged to boost co-operation with other nations.
“(Increasing) constructive interaction with world countries, deepening bonds with neighbouring and regional countries and boosting the level of co-operation with friendly countries are not only a wise choice but a necessity,” President Rouhani said.
He also called for more negotiations among world powers to end American aggression against developing states.
“Today is the time for the mother of all negotiations, not mother of all bombs,” President Rouhani said, in apparent reference to the United States’ April 2017 use of Massive Ordnance Air Blast in Afghanistan.
The mother of all bombs is the US military’s largest non-nuclear explosive, and disperses cancer-causing chemicals, and causes birth defects, stroke, high blood pressure and weakened vision.
It also contaminates food and water for at least a generation.
At Thursday’s validation ceremony, Ayatollah Khamenei advised President Rouhani to “pay attention to the people’s problems, which today are primarily the economy and living conditions”.
He added that the president should interact extensively with the global community and “stand strongly against any domination”.
Taking the advice to heart, President Rouhani yesterday said Iran would not remain silent as the United States continued to violate international law.
He said Washington was “addicted to the illegal and ineffective policy of sanctions and threats”, and could not be trusted.