Iran to Help Zimbabwe Beat off Sanctions

A0243916.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – Iran will help Zimbabwe defeat western sanctions by assisting President Robert Mugabe’s government in setting up a farm equipment manufacturing plant, refurbish an oil refinery and expand a power plant, Tehran’s envoy to Harare said on Monday.

Ambassador Rasoul Momeni said Iran, which has wrangled with western powers over its nuclear enrichment program, will stand by Harare and condemned United States and European Union sanctions against Mugabe and his top officials.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran fully supports the people and the government of Zimbabwe in the face of sanctions and political pressure. It is the manifestation of the famous saying ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed,” said Momeni, in an address marking the 29th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Mugabe has pursued a new “Look East” policy that promotes stronger ties with countries like Iran and China since falling out with the west over human rights and other governance issues.

The US, EU, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand have since 2002 maintained visa and financial sanctions against Mugabe and his lieutenants.

The western governments have cut all aid to Harare except humanitarian support, a move that has worsened an acute economic crisis gripping Zimbabwe and seen in shortages of food, essential medicines, fuel, electricity, hard cash and other basic commodities.

Momeni said his oil-rich country would step in to help lift Zimbabwe out of a crisis that is described by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone. “My country is ready for the implementation of all agreements reached so far, such as the establishment of the tractor manufacturing plant, the refurbishment of Feruka Oil Refinery and the expansion of Hydro-electric power plant,” said Momeni.

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