From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Islamic Republic of Iran has expressed its strong willingness to expand relations with Africa, and particularly Nigeria.
Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria and the Republic of Equitorial Guinea, Morteza Rahimi Zarchi, expressed Iran’s determination to cooperate with Africa and Nigeria during the celebration of Iranian 39th national day in Abuja.
In his remarks, Zarchi extolled the role played by the late Imam Khomeini and His Eminence Ayatollah Khamenei who “resisted over the past four decades various plots and plans such as an imposed war, unjust sanctions, waves of terrorism, coup, violence, and etc.”
Zarchi said that in spite of the opposition, Iran achieved amazing successes in many ways, particularly its citizens active participation in 40 democratic elections.
The envoy cited a number of accomplishments of the Western Asian country.
Iranian universities, he said, have increased in number by 26 fold, with 13 Iranian universities in the world ranking list top universities; in medicine, 96 percent of internally consumed pharmaceuticals and drugs for human and animals are produced by Iranian factories, and the rest exported.
More than 1.5 million automobiles, Zarchi said, are being manufactured yearly in Iran, with export to 39 countries.
On electricity and power production, Iran’s ranking, he said, is currently 13th in the world with 7800 megawatts capacity, out of which some 1500 megawatts being exported to neighbouring countries.
Zarchi further said “in higher technologies like nano, bio, and peaceful nuclear energy, the defence industry of Iran has gone far remarkably and reached the level of self-sufficiency in many others.”
“In this vein last year, the Supreme Secretariat of Africa in Iran held a meeting headed by first Vice President Jahangiri.
“Mutual and international cooperation between Iran and Nigeria had advanced positively. For instance, Iranian companies participated in the International Trade fair in Lagos and they will also be going to participate in Kaduna Trade Fair soon.
“Islamic Republic of Iran is willing strongly to expand relations with Africa, and Nigeria, in particular, as an important member of the African Union and largest country in West Africa,” Zarchi said.
The Iranian ambassador took note of recent developments in Iran’s relationship with Nigeria, particularly the different business delegations both countries exchanged.
Zarchi pointed to the presence of a parliamentary delegation from Nigeria at the recent inter-parliamentary conference held in Tehran.
He also said the Iranian delegation from the Ministry of Industry of Iran actively participated in the recent ministerial meeting of D8 member countries, amongst others.
On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, represented by the Director of Regions, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Olusola Iginla, said the National Day celebration afforded both counties the opportunity to reflect on the selfless sacrifices and efforts of all patriots to the cause of ensuring a formidable Iran.
Iginla noted that despite all odds, Iran has weathered several political storms to emerge a self-reliant nation, working towards positively shaping global affairs and contributing its quota to the development of the world economy.
“I want to seize this opportunity to reaffirm the very cordial relationship between Nigeria and the Islamic Republic of Iran which has spanned years since Nigeria established our mission in Tehran in 1976.
“It is imperative to state today that Nigeria will continue to maintain friendly relations with Iran as we look forward to more opportunities to collaborate on several spheres, using the platforms available, the Nigeria-Iran Joint Commission, the sixth edition which is scheduled to hold in Tehran very soon,” Iginla said.