New Vision (Kampala)

11 February 2013

Uganda: State Minister Lauds Relations With Iran

State Minister for International Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, has extolled the warm relations between Uganda and Iran, describing it as key to the socio-economic transformation of both countries.

Oryem used the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the national day of the Islamic Republic of Iran last week to highlight both the high level diplomatic exchange visits between the two countries and a host of development projects being funded by the Iranian government.

"Uganda has benefitted from the various scholarships extended by the Islamic Republic of Iran and these have been crucial in building the country's human resource," Oryem said, before reeling off other Iranian funded projects like the yet to be inaugurated police health center, modern abattoir in Kampala, the Iran- Uganda Naguru Health Center and the Katonga agriculture and agro-processing project.

Over the years, the relations between Iran and Uganda have gone a notch higher with at least fifteen Memoranda of Understanding in various fields getting concluded between the two countries, and nine more yet to be finalized.

President Yoweri Museveni has visited Iran four times in the last 20 years, the latest visit being in August 2012 to grace the Non Aligned Movement in Tehran.

Also, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his predecessors - Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami have paid state visits to Uganda.

Iran's ambassador to Uganda Dr. Amir Hossein Nikbin lauded the revolution that toppled Mohammad Reza Shah in 1979, labeling it the cornerstone that "has led Iran to conquer the peak of progress in different realms of human endeavor."

"Today the country is at the highest status in scientific fields such as biotech, Aerospace, Nuclear and medical science," Nikbin said.

Nikbin pointed to the recent opening of the Cultural Counsel at the Iranian embassy as his country's commitment to deepening its relationship with Uganda.

The function at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala was graced by a sizeable number of the Iranian community in Uganda, diplomats, legislators and renowned academic Mahmood Mamdani.

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