In an effort to combat crippling US sanctions against Iran, President Hassan Rouhani embarked on a four-nation tour of Africa designed to boost trade and diplomatic relations. The tour signals Tehran’s increasing reliance on African markets to weather the economic storm created by the sanctions, which were reimposed by US President Donald Trump in 2018.
The tour began in Sudan, where Rouhani discussed deepening economic ties with President Omer al-Bashir and signed an agreement to strengthen economic and agricultural cooperation. According to Mizan News Agency, Rouhani proclaimed that the “two brotherly countries will move to new heights.” Rouhani then traveled to Zimbabwe, where he met President Emmerson Mnangagwa and expressed a desire to increase cooperation between the two countries in the fields of security, politics, and economy. On the next leg of the trip, Rouhani is expected to visit Namibia and South Africa for similar diplomatic meetings.
Rouhani and his delegation are expected to explore scenarios for increased trade and investment during the African tour, as well as discuss potential forms of assistance against the US’ economic pressures. The tour marks the second time in less than a year that Iran’s president has visited the continent in an effort to strengthen ties against sanctions.