New ambassadors from Iran and France presented their credentials to President Mnangagwa yesterday, with Mr Laurent Chevallier of France giving priority to strengthening economic ties and Mr Abbas Navazani of Iran giving full support to efforts to have illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe lifted.
In an interview after presenting his credentials, Mr Navazani said the illegal sanctions should be lifted unconditionally as they were economic terrorism aimed at hampering economic recovery
"As I am here, I reckon that unfortunately there are illegal and unjustified sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. They are hurting ordinary people. These sanctions stem from ill-wishes by America. We recognise that these sanctions are economic terrorism," said Mr Navazani.
Turning to Zimbabwe's bilateral ties with Iran, Mr Navazani said the two countries enjoy good cooperation and he will work hard during his tour of duty to deepen the bond.
"I am very pleased to have met with the President. Iran and Zimbabwe share wide history of cooperation in different fields. The two countries enjoy cordial relations politically, economically and culturally. Internationally, we have a very close cooperation. I will enhance mutual cooperation during my stay here," said Mr Navazani.
He replaced Mr Ahmad Erfanian who bid farewell to President Mnangagwa in February this year. Mr Chevallier, who replaced Mr Richard Boidin who completed his tour of duty to Harare, pledged to strengthen bilateral relations between France and Zimbabwe.
"I am looking forward to work closely with Zimbabwe and also strengthen relations between France and Zimbabwe. We will strengthen relations particularly in the economic areas," said Mr Chevallier.
France is an EU member but the has been easing the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002.
The bloc removed top Government officials from its sanctions list in February this year and pledged support for economic and political reforms in Zimbabwe.
The EU Council agreed to renew its arms embargo and targeted an assets freeze against the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, for one year until another review in February next year. Zimbabwe is presently pursuing an engagement and re-engagement drive, which the Government says is paying dividends.
The Iranian ambassador's call on sanctions removal comes as there has been a growing call ahead Sadc Anti-Sanctions Day on October 25, for the unconditional removal of the sanctions.
On Wednesday, Sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax told citizens of the regional bloc that without the punitive economic sanctions, the Second Republic under the leadership of President Mnangagwa could have achieved more for its people.
Dr Tax said the region was being weighed down by the economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the West as punishment for the land reform.