The Herald (Harare)

6 July 2013

Zimbabwe: Western Sanctions a Blessing in Disguise - Envoy

VISITING Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Ali Akbar Salehi has said sanctions imposed by the West on his country and Zimbabwe have actually strengthened the two countries as they have learnt to be innovative to improve the welfare of their people.

Dr Salehi said Zimbabwe's future was bright, buoyed by its various policies it has put in place for its people to counter the effects of the illegal embargo.

He was speaking on Thursday evening during a dinner held by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

Dr Salehi said Zimbabwe did not sit on its laurels in the wake of the ruinous sanctions, but was innovative and this had started paying off.

"Had we not produced leaders like President Mugabe we would not be in a position we are . . . so sanctions if utilised can be a good sign," he said. "We believe a bright future lies ahead for this country."

Dr Salehi said Iran was now manufacturing military equipment on its own after the West imposed sanctions against it over its quest to produce nuclear power to protect itself.

"We are no longer buying anything from outside," he said.

Minister Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe supported Iran's quest to have nuclear projects.

"ln this regard, we deplore foreign interference in your country's quest to pursue and benefit from nuclear enrichment for peaceful purposes," he said.

Turning to bilateral relations, Minister Mumbengegwi said there was a need to strengthen co-operation through Joint Commissions for the benefit of the two countries.

Some of the projects where Memorandums of Understanding have been signed between the two countries are in health, education, science and research, agriculture, tourism, industry and trade.

"Some projects in these sectors have taken off while a lot more needs to be done for us to end up with concrete and tangible programmes," said Minister Mumbengegwi.

He said more needed to be done through Joint Commissions particularly the speedy implementation of cooperation arrangements.

"It is my fervent hope that through hard work, re-evaluation and streamlining of programmes, our set objectives and goals would be realised inspite of illegal and punitive sanctions imposed on our two countries," he said.

Zimbabwe and Iran enjoy good bilateral relations dating back to the liberation struggle.

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