Africa: Iran's final frontier?

Reuters

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) walks with Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou after his arrival at Niamey airport April 15, 2013. Picture taken April 15, 2013.

Article Highlights

  • American strategists might describe Iran as a "regional power," but in recent years, Iranian officials have described the Islamic Republic as an "extra-regional power."

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  • Tehran sees many of Africa's 54 countries as diplomatic easy picking in a zero-sum game for influence.

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  • Nigeria may be oil-rich, but with a dysfunctional economy leaving most Nigerians impoverished, the country welcomed any foreign investment to create jobs.

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The Islamic Republic of Iran's diplomatic ambitions may be broader than Western policymakers believe: Tehran sees many of Africa's 54 countries as easy picking in a zero-sum game for influence. This outreach takes many guises and is geared toward specific diplomatic and military purposes that could challenge US aims across Africa. In comparison with recent American presidents who made just three visits to Sub-Saharan Africa in the last decade, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad travels to Africa at least annually, with key Iranian ministers visiting even more frequently. Iran's strategy toward Africa has been threefold. First, Tehran is reaching out to countries voting in important international bodies such as the United Nations Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors, as well as African states active in the Non-Aligned Movement and African Union. Second, Iranian officials seem to be prioritizing outreach to African countries that mine or are prospecting for uranium. And, third, senior Iranian officials are seeking to cement partnerships with littoral states that can provide the Iranian navy with access to strategic bases.

Key points in this Outlook:

  • Iran is forging ties with African nations to leverage aid and soft power in exchange for diplomatic favors and to use Africa as cover for military or nuclear objectives.
  • Iran’s Africa strategy involves courting African countries voting in important international bodies, prioritizing outreach to African countries that mine uranium, and cementing partnerships that could give Iran access to strategic naval bases.
  • The Islamic Republic’s diplomatic outreach to African nations will increasingly challenge US aims across Africa and in its surrounding waters.

 

The Islamic Republic of Iran and its nuclear ambitions remain at the center of American diplomatic attention. Outreach to Iran was the focus of President Obama's first television interview as president in 2009.[1] A desire for rapprochement continues into the Obama administration's second term. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 2, 2013, for example, Vice President Joe Biden offered direct, bilateral talks with Iran.[2] Policy concern regarding Iran also consumes a disproportionate share of US military resources. Even as the number of aircraft carriers within the US Navy shrinks to 10-down from 12 in 2007-the Pentagon remains committed to stationing an aircraft-carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf, largely because of Iran. Before Operation Desert Shield in 1990, the United States did not generally station any carriers in the Persian Gulf.

Iran's strategy, however, is broader than Western policymakers' focus on its nuclear program and its activities in the Middle East or perhaps Latin America. American strategists might describe Iran as a "regional power," but in recent years, Iranian officials have described the Islamic Republic as an "extra-regional power."[3] They see Iran as a pivotal state able to exert its influence not only in the Middle East, but also in South Asia, and not only in the Persian Gulf, but also in the Indian Ocean. Tehran's diplomatic ambitions, however, may be considerably broader: Iran increasingly appears to be looking at Africa as fertile ground for expanding its influence. Iranian outreach takes many guises and is geared toward specific purposes, some diplomatic and others military.

In comparison to recent American presidents who made three multicountry African visits between 2003 and 2012, the Iranian president travels to Africa at least annually, while other Iranian ministers visit even more frequently.

With successive US administrations and European governments effectively ignoring Africa, Tehran sees many of Africa's 54 countries as diplomatic easy picking in a zero-sum game for influence. In comparison to recent American presidents who made three multicountry African visits between 2003 and 2012, the Iranian president travels to Africa at least annually, while other Iranian ministers visit even more frequently.[4]

In his latest tour of Africa in January 2013, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi visited Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso before ending his tour in Ethiopia, where he attended the annual African Union summit. Speaking in Ghana on January 7, 2013, he declared Africa to be an Iranian priority.[5] Salehi's rhetoric is not empty; his tour tops off a concerted five-year Iranian push.[6]

Over this time, the Iranian diplomatic strategy toward Africa has been threefold. First, with additional aid, Tehran has cultivated relationships with countries voting in important international bodies, such as nonpermanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council or term members serving on the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors. Additional targets for Iranian largesse have been African states active in the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Union. Second, beyond the diplomatic quid pro quo, Iranian officials appear to be prioritizing outreach to those African countries that are mining or prospecting for uranium. Lastly, senior Iranian officials have sought to cement partnerships that they could leverage into gaining access to strategic bases.

The Quest for Diplomatic Support

Both the UN Security Council and IAEA normally have African representation. Togo and Rwanda currently serve as nonpermanent members of the UN Security Council (between 2010 and 2011, Gabon and Nigeria served in this position). South Africa held a security council seat between 2007 and 2008 and again between 2010 and 2011, with Uganda serving in the interim. Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania also currently serve on the IAEA Board of Governors, and in recent years, Niger and Kenya have also served there. The countries listed largely coincide with the emphasis of Iran's Africa outreach.

Iranian diplomats have long sought to cultivate ties with South Africa. The Islamic Republic's opposition to Apartheid set the foundation for warm ties after the restoration of diplomatic relations in 1994. Iranian supply of oil to South Africa has heightened economic relations. For Tehran, however, trade is not the only factor in Iran's desire to have good relations with South Africa. "South Africa is a key member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a bloc of developing countries that has resisted the efforts to force Tehran to halt uranium enrichment," a commentary in the official Tehran Times explained.[7]

Iran's attempts to leverage its relationship with South Africa into support on the UN Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors paid dividends.[8] Despite the February 2008 IAEA report that found that the Islamic Republic continued to enrich uranium in violation of its safeguards agreement and two security council resolutions, the South African government used its position on the security council to oppose further sanctions against Iran.[9]

Whether South African advocacy for Iran is sincere or cynical, the African state reaps benefits. While the international community sought to constrain Iranian sales and thereby the Islamic Republic's income, South Africa refused to cooperate. In 2010, Iranian crude oil accounted for 25 percent of South Africa's petroleum, much of it at discounted prices.[10] Most recently, South Africa threw a last-minute wrench into an IAEA resolution criticizing Iran's failure to comply with security council resolutions.[11] South African authorities have been helpful to the Islamic Republic in other ways: the US Department of the Treasury has accused South Africa's cell phone company MTN of helping Iran skirt prohibitions on imports of US technology.[12]

"In 2010, Iranian crude oil accounted for 25 percent of South Africa’s petroleum, much of it at discounted pricesSouth Africa is not alone. After Togo announced its intention to seek a UN Security Council seat, Tehran's outreach to the tiny West African nation increased. In September 2010, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met Togolese Foreign Minister Elliott Ohin. "An extensive and profound cooperation between Iran and Africa will go a long way to modify international relations and regional balance," Ahmadinejad declared.[13]

Then-Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki reciprocated the visit the following month.[14] Fourteen months later, in January 2012, Mottaki's successor Ali Akbar Salehi met Ohin at the 18th African Union summit and promised that the Islamic Republic would help develop Togo.[15] Indeed, after successive visits by both then-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her Iranian counterpart, the Togolese opposition was quite open about how the two powers sought to court countries often ignored by larger powers. It emphasized the appeal of the Iranian approach, if for no other reason than that it caused larger countries to no longer take Togo for granted.[16]

Once again, however, strings appear to have been attached to Iranian assistance. When Yemeni authorities accused Iran of supporting the Houthis (the Shiite minority fighting an antigovernment insurgency in northern Yemen), the Iranians denied responsibility. The ship intercepted with weaponry was actually Togolese, Iranian authorities explained.[17]

The same pattern held true with Gabon. Shortly before Gabon ascended to the security council, the country became the subject of intense Iranian courtship. In May 2009, the Gabonese culture minister visited Tehran carrying a veritable wish list of projects for Iran to subsidize or provide.[18] Later that month, then- Gabonese foreign minister Paul Toungui visited Tehran, where he signed a host of agreements to expand and facilitate business.[19] Early the next year, Gabonese President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba met Mottaki on the sidelines of the African Union conference. Mottaki reiterated Iran's desire to expand political and economic ties with Gabon.[20] Two months later, Gabon used its seat on the security council to support Iran's nuclear program.[21]

Nigeria's role in both the security council and at the IAEA translated into sustained Iranian outreach. Nigeria may be oil-rich, but with a dysfunctional economy leaving most Nigerians impoverished, the country welcomed any foreign investment to create jobs. Instead of supplying oil-Iran's strategy of first resort to countries whose support Tehran wants-Tehran offered to manufacture Iranian automobiles in Nigeria, providing poorer Nigerians with assembly-line jobs and perhaps giving Iranian agents cover to operate in the region.[22] Iranian engineers also helped Nigeria bolster its own production, lending Iranian engineering expertise to Nigerian efforts to explore offshore gas fields.[23] During a subsequent visit to Nigeria, Salehi sweetened the commercial pot further with promises of preferential tariff reductions and bolstered trade.[24]

The Iranian government did not hesitate to leverage its investment in Nigeria.[25] As with Togo and Gabon, however, there also appears to have been a more nefarious side to Iran's presence. The seizure of crates of weaponry at the Port of Lagos in 2010 exposed Iran's strategy to leverage its African partners for strategic objectives.[26] Summoned by the Nigerian foreign minister after Nigerian customs seized the arms shipment, the Iranian ambassador explained that the arms were destined for Gambia as part of an earlier agreement. When the Nigerian government asked why, then, the Iranians had labeled the sealed containers as building material, the Iranian ambassador shrugged off the question and instead blamed the private shipping company.[27] That same year the US Department of the Treasury issued an advisory regarding the tendency of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines-already subject to sanctions-to use fraudulent documents in its operations.[28]

The Quest for Uranium

Another factor behind Iran's nuclear drive may be its developing nuclear program. The Iranian leadership has said it seeks up to 16 nuclear reactors for civilian energy purposes.[29] Should Iran build such a network, it will deplete its limited indigenous uranium supply within 10 years.[30] Regardless of Iran's nuclear motivation, two things are clear: Iran has at present no intention of abandoning its nuclear drive, and it will also never have true energy security. Its quest to find alternative sources of uranium may also bring Iran back to Africa.

"Recent Iranian outreach to Gambia, Malawi, Namibia, and Uganda coincides with the discovery of uranium in those countries."A number of African states mine uranium: Nambia and Niger are major uranium exporters. Malawi and Gabon operate uranium mines. South Africa produces some uranium as a byproduct of gold mining, and prospecting continues across the continent. Uranium deposits exist in Togo, Guinea, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.[31] Iran seeks to cultivate ties with many of these states.

Hence, in April 2010, Centrafrique-Presse Online, a Central African Republic website affiliated with Ange-Félix Patassé, that country's ousted president, suggested that then-foreign minister Antoine Gambi had traveled to Tehran to negotiate the Iranian purchase of Central African yellowcake. While Patassé has motivation to cast suspicion on the man who ousted him in a coup, his speculation that there could be "a Bangui-Caracas-Tehran-Pyongyang axis trafficking in uranium" in the making might raise anxiety.[32]

In theory, while international controls prevent African states from exporting uranium absent transparency, the reality is that poor infrastructure and corruption can enable illicit trade. In 2007, for example, Congolese authorities arrested Fortunat Lumu, director of the Atomic Energy Center, in an investigation involving missing uranium.[33]

While visits by Iranian officials to the West African country of Guinea were relatively scarce a decade ago, Tehran has taken more interest in Conakry since the discovery of commercially viable uranium deposits in 2007. In 2010, Mottaki announced a 140 percent increase in Iran-Guinea trade, for which the mining sector accounted for the greatest proportion.[34] Recent Iranian outreach to Gambia, Malawi, Namibia, and Uganda also coincides with the discovery of uranium in those countries. In January 2008, for example, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announced the discovery of uranium.[35] While Ahmadinejad had visited Banjul in 2006 for an African Union summit, he returned in the year following the announcement for further discussions with Jammeh.[36]

Uganda announced its uranium discovery in 2004. While commercial relations between Iran and Uganda remained dormant under the presidencies of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-97) and Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005), this changed in subsequent years. Visiting Tehran in 2009, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni met not only with his counterpart, but also with Iran's minister of mining. The Kampala-based Daily Monitor reported "strong indication that the two leaders discussed prospects of exploiting Uganda's uranium resources, which Mr. Museveni has often said would only be used for the generation of energy."[37]

The Quest for a Base

A third goal for Iranian outreach to Africa may be a quest to establish Iran's own "string of pearls"-that is, if not de facto bases that could provide Iran logistical support and allow it to extend its naval reach, then pivotal states upon which it could rely to advance strategic and ideological objectives (the role that Venezuela plays for Iran in South America).

Initially, Iranian authorities cultivated a relationship with Senegal. There is no indication that the two states ever openly discussed formal bases, but the Islamic Republic did develop closer relations with Senegal than it did with other African states. Abdoulaye Wade, president of Senegal between 2000 and 2012, met repeatedly not only with Ahmadinejad but also Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[38] The Senegalese foreign and defense ministers also visited their Iranian counterparts.[39]  Senior Iranian officials have reciprocated the visits.[40]

The Senegalese leadership seemed interested in reaping the benefits from its Iranian courtship.  "Energy, Oil Prospecting, Industry: Senegal Benefits from Iranian Solutions," the official government newspaper declared after Wade's first visit to Tehran.[41] After the reciprocal Iranian visit, Wade announced that Iran would build an oil refinery, chemical plant, and an $80 million car-assembly plant in the West Africa nation.[42] Within weeks, Samuel Sarr, Senegal's energy minister, visited Tehran and returned with a pledge that Iran would supply Senegal with oil for a year and purchase a 34 percent stake in Senegal's oil refinery.[43]  Such aid may not have come without strings attached. On November 25, 2007, during the third meeting of the Iran-Senegal joint economic commission, Wade endorsed Iran's nuclear program.[44] Wade's visit to Iran the following year provided a backdrop for Khamenei to declare that developing unity between Islamic countries like Senegal and Iran can weaken "the great powers" like the United States.[45]

On January 27, 2008, a week after then-Senegalese foreign minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio announced that he too would visit Tehran, then-defense minister Bécaye Diop met with his Iranian counterpart to discuss expanding bilateral defense ties between the two states.[46] While Iranian Navy Chief Habibollah Sayyari is prone to hyperbole, Senegal could have brought to reality-at least symbolically-his pledge to have Iran establish a presence in the Atlantic.[47]

Bilateral relations suffered a significant setback in 2011, however, when Senegalese authorities accused Iran of smuggling arms to rebels in Senegal's restive Casamance region.[48] If the Senegalese allegations were true-Iran hotly denied them and accused foreign intelligence of fabricating evidence-then they might have reflected lack of coordination among various Iranian security elements.[49] The Iranian ministry of intelligence, Quds Force, and the foreign ministry have, on occasion, run foreign operations at odds with each other and broader Iranian policy.[50] Regardless, the break in relations was only temporary. On February 7, 2013, Tehran and Dakar restored bilateral ties, although whether Senegal will pursue as effusive an embrace of Iran under Wade's successor Macky Sall is far from clear.[51]

While its relations with Senegal were in stasis, Iran's courtship of Sudan reached new levels. The Islamic Republic is willing to embrace any African state estranged from the West. In the past, this was the basis for ties between Iran and Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe (which in recent years has also become a uranium producer).[52] Iranian officials apparently have also found Sudan ripe for picking.[53]

European governments and the United States have sought to isolate Sudan because of its role in Darfur Genocide; on March 4, 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.[54] As the international community tightened sanctions on Khartoum, Ahmadinejad moved to embrace Bashir, visiting the country before and after Bashir's indictment.[55] Iran's defense minister visited Khartoum and called the African state "the cornerstone" of the Islamic Republic's Africa policies.[56]

Indeed, as the Syrian regime-since 1979 Iran's only loyal ally-has teetered, Iranian authorities have increased military cooperation with Sudan. Twice in late 2012, Iranian naval ships docked at Port Sudan on the Red Sea.[57] While Sudanese officials have denied any military alliance between Tehran and Khartoum, there is widespread speculation that Israel might have conducted an airstrike on Sudan, targeting Iranian arms.[58]

Iranian officials have denied rumors that the Islamic Republic has also established bases in the littoral Red Sea nation of Eritrea, a country that has both endorsed Iran's nuclear program and also suffered increasingly strained ties with the West because of its increasingly dismal human rights record.[59] (Eritrea is the only country to rank below North Korea in press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders.)[60] Iran explains its presence in regional waters as part of its own antipiracy operations, although Iranian officials tend to exaggerate their own operations.[61]

Conclusion

While supposition is not proof of Iranian aims, there does appear to be determined Iranian outreach to Africa. At best, Tehran appears to be leveraging aid and soft power in exchange for diplomatic favors; at worst, some individuals in the Islamic Republic appear to be using Africa as cover for other military or nuclear objectives. Either way, the Iranian government has shown that its self-description as an "extra-regional" power is no longer rhetorical exaggeration, but will instead increasingly challenge US aims across Africa.

Notes

1. Hisham Melhem, "Obama Speaks to the Muslim World," Washington Post, January 28, 2009.

2. Adrian Croft and Myra MacDonald, "Biden Raises Possibility of Direct U.S.-Iran Talks," Reuters, February 3, 2013.

3. See, for example, "Tahdid, Tahrim, va Teror, Khalali dar ‘Dafa'e Muqadas Hastehha-ye' Ijad Namikonad" [Threats, Sanctions, and Assassinations Won't Interfere in ‘Core Sacred Defense'], Fars News.com (Tehran), January 11, 2012, www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901021001600.

4. Office of the Historian, US Department of State, "Travels of President Barack Obama,"  http://history.state.gov/department history/travels/president/obama-barack; and Office of the Historian, US Department of State, "Travels of President George W. Bush," http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/travels/president/bush-george-w. Former secretaries of state Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton each made four trips to Africa during their respective four-year tenures. See Office of the Historian, US Department of State, "Travels of the Secretary," http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/travels/secretary.

5. "FM: Iran Resolved to Expand Ties with Africa," Fars News Agency (Tehran), January 7, 2013, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9107133637.

6. "FM: 2008 a Milestone in Iran-Africa Ties," Fars News Agency (Tehran), January 30, 2008, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8611100422; "Beh Zudi Ijlas Iran va Afriqa dar Tehran Bargazar Mishavad" [Tehran Will Soon Host Iran-Africa Summit], Mehr News (Tehran), February 1, 2008, www.mehrnews.com/fa/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=631047.

7. "Pretoria's Pro-Iran Stance Can Boost Progress in Global South," Tehran Times, February 7, 2008.

8. "SA Commends Iran's Stance on Nuclear Program," Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), September 14, 2007.

9. International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Report by the Director General (February 25, 2008), www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board /2011/gov2011-7.pdf; and "Security Council Edges Towards Adoption of Iran Sanctions," The Citizen (Johannesburg), February 29, 2008.

10. "Tamim 25 dar sad Niaz Naft Afirqaye Jonubi Towsat Iran" [25 Percent of South Africa's Oil Needs Supplied by Iran], Abrar (Tehran), January 27, 2010. www.abrarnews.com/economic /1388/881107/html/energy.htm; and "Afzayesh Cheshemgir Vardat Naft-e Kham Afriqaye Jonubi va Iran" [The Dramatic Rise in South Africa's Crude Oil Imports from Iran], Fars News Agency (Tehran), April 2, 2012, www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13910114000938 .

11. Fredrik Dahl, "South Africa Throws UN Nuclear Meeting on Iran into Disarray," Reuters, September 13, 2012.

12. Steve Stecklow, "Special Report: Documents Detail How MTN Funneled U.S. Technology to Iran," Reuters, August 30, 2012; and "MTN ‘Panicking' over US Treasury Sanctions," City Press (Johannesburg), November 10, 2012, www.citypress .co.za/business/mtn-panicking-over-us-treasury-sanctions-20121110/.

13. "L'Iran, ‘Partenaire Stratégique' de l'Afrique" [Iran ‘Strategic Partner' of Africa], RepublicofTogo.com (Lomé), September 14, 2010, www.republicoftogo.com/Toutes-les-rubriques/Diplomatie/L-Iran-partenaire-strategique-de-l-Afrique.

14. "Manouchehr Mottaki à Lomé" [Manouchehr Mottaki to Lomé], RepublicofTogo.com (Lomé), October 30, 2010, www.republicoftogo.com/Toutes-les-rubriques/Diplomatie /Manouchehr-Mottaki-a-Lome.

15. "Tawse'ah va  Gosteresh-e Ravabat Do Keshvar Mavarad Takid Qarar Gereft" [Development of Bilateral Relations Emphasized], Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), January 30, 2012.

16. "Visite Éclaire de la Secrétaire d'Etat Hillary Clinton au Togo: Après les Questions de Trafic de Drogue, de Blanchiment d'Argent et de Terrorisme International, le Cœur de Faure Gnassingbé Balance Entre l'Iran et les Usa pour les Armes Nucléaires et la Piraterie Maritime," [The Visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Togo Clarifies: After Question of Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering, and International Terrorism, the Heart of Faure Gnassingbe is the Balance between Iran and the US over Nuclear Arms and Maritime Piracy], Le Triangle des Enjeux (Lomé), January 18, 2012.

17. "Envoy: West's Deceptive Reports ‘Source of Yemen's Baseless Claims against Iran,'" Fars News Agency (Tehran), January 7, 2013, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php? nn=9107133761.

18. "Gabon Minister: Iran Source of Honor for Africans," Fars News Agency (Tehran), May 4, 2009, http://english.farsnews.com /newstext.php?nn=8802140871.

19. "Minister Welcomes Presence of Iranian Private Sector in Gabon," Fars News Agency (Tehran), May 26, 2009, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8803051500.

20. "Gabonese President Terms Relations with Iran Important," Fars News Agency (Tehran), February 1, 2010, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8811121230.

21. "Iran Renews Calls for N. Disarmament," Fars News Agency (Tehran), April 3, 2010, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8901140743.

22. "Iran dar Nijeria Khodro Misazad" [Iran to Build Cars in Nigeria], Alef (Tehran), October 31, 2010, http://alef.ir/vdceff8v.jh8nvi9bbj.html?85787.

23. "Hamkari Gazi 156 milliyon dollari Iran va Nijeria" [$156 Million Gas Cooperation between Iran and Nigeria], Donya-ye Eghtesad (Tehran), August 14, 2008, www.donya-e-eqtesad.com/Default_view.asp?@=116779; and "Dar Ijlas Nijeria Ara'i Shod Pishnahadha-ye Ahmadinejad beh Dey 8" [Ahmadinejad Presents Offer to Developing Eight Countries in Nigeria Meeting], Donya-ye Eghtesad (Tehran), July 11, 2010, www.donya-e-eqtesad.com/Default_view.asp?@=214445

24. "Iran, Nigeria Plan to Exchange Experience in Different Arenas," Fars News Agency (Tehran), July 14, 2011, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9004230335.

25. "Salehi: D8 Seeking to Promote Trade among Muslim Nations," Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), July 13, 2011; and "Tehran and Abuja Emphasize Need For Upgrading Cooperation Level," Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), July 13, 2011.

26. Detail about the Nigeria weapons seizure is available at Maseh Zarif, "Qods Force Operation in Africa," AEI Iran Tracker, March 7, 2011, www.irantracker.org/military-activities/qods-force-operation-africa.

27. "Safir Iran dar Nigeria: Gambia Moghasad Tasalihat Zabet Shodeh Nijeria Bud" [Iranian Ambassador in Nigeria: Arms Seized in Nigeria were Destined for Gambia], Donya-ye Eghtesad (Tehran), February 10, 2011, www.donyae-eqtesad.com/Default_view.asp?@=243016.

28. "Nonproliferation and Weapons of Mass Destruction Advisory: Presentation of Fraudulent Shipping Documents," US Department of the Treasury, March 31, 2011, www.treasury .gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/pages /20110331_33.aspx; and "Major Iranian Shipping Company Designated for Proliferation Activity," US Department of the Treasury, September 10, 2008, www.treasury.gov/press-center /press-releases/Pages/hp1130.aspx.

29. "Iran Planning to Build More N. Power Plants," Fars News Agency (Tehran), November 14, 2011, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007160844; and "Qarardad Makanyaye Nirugahha-ye Hastehaye Iran" [Agreement for the Placement of Iranian Nuclear Power Plants], Tabnak.ir (Tehran), August 20, 2010, www.tabnak.ir/pages/?cid=15916; and  "Iran Finds New Uranium Reserves," Kayhan International (Tehran), February 24, 2013, www.kayhanintl.com/feb24/index.htm.

30. Pacific Northwest Center for Global Security, "Alternative Energy Economics for Iran: Options, Definitions and Evaluation," in Uranium 2003 Resources, Production and Demand (Nuclear Energy Agency No. 5291, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2004). Iranian authorities have expanded their planned network of nuclear power plants alongside their claimed discovery of new uranium resources. The date at which Iranian nuclear plants will exhaust indigenous uranium will not change if Iran builds plants as it announces a tripling of known uranium reserves.

31. Tshenyo Modibe, "Deployment of Natural Resources for Development in Africa," The Thinker (Midrand), December 2012, 24-28; Richard Johnson, "French Areva Harvests Bumper Uranium," Eurasia Review, February 20, 2013, www.eurasiareview.com /20022013-french-areva-harvests-bumper-uranium/; "Ezulwini Uranium and Gold Mine, Gauteng, South Africa," Mining-Technology.com (London), www.mining-technology.com/projects/ezulwini/;  and Dumbani Mzale, "Kayelekera Mine Output Jumps 21%," The Nation (Blantyre), January 19, 2013.

32. "L'Uranium Centrafricain Conduit Bozizé à Vouloir Jouer dans la Cour des Grands"  [Central African Uranium Leads [François] Bozizé to Want to Play in the Big Leagues], Centrafrique-Presse Online (Paris), April 19, 2010, http://centrafrique-presse.over-blog.com/article-l-uranium-centrafricain-conduit-bozize-a-vouloir-jouer-dans-la-cour-des-grands-48866866.html.

33. Walter Zinnen, "Waar gaat het Congolese Uranium Heen?" [Where Does the Congolese Uranium Go?], De Standaad (Brussels), August 7, 2009, www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx ?artikelid=4A2DHA72.

34. "Iran-Guinea Trade Exchanges Up By 140%," Fars News Agency (Tehran), May 1, 2010, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8902111538.

35. "President's Ashura Surprise to the Nation," Daily Observer (Banjul), January 21, 2008, http://observer.gm/africa /gambia/banjul/article/2008/1/21/we-have-minerals

36. "President Ahmadinejad Visits Gambia Banjul-Tehran Ties Strengthened," Daily Observer (Banjul), November 23,
2009, http://observer.gm/africa/gambia/article/president-ahmadinejad-visits-gambia-banjul-tehran-ties-strengthened.

37. Emmanuel Gyezaho, "Museveni, Iran Leader Hold Talks," Daily Monitor (Kampala), May 18, 2009, http://web.archive.org/web/20090521131952/http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/news/Museveni_Iran_leader_hold_talks_85022.shtml.

38. "Communiqué Conjoint de la Visite Officielle de Son Excellence Me Abdoulaye Wade, Président de la République du Sénégal en République Islamique d'Iran : Du 26 au 28 Juin 2006 (du 5 au 7 Tir 1385 de l'Hégire Solaire)," Le Soleil (Dakar), June 29, 2006, http://fr.allafrica.com/stories/200606290749.html; and "Leader Urges Muslim Unity Against Israel," Press TV (Tehran), May 16, 2010, www.presstv.ir/detail/126703.html

39. "Senegalese DM Meets Iranian Counterpart," Far News Agency (Tehran), January 28, 2008; and "Senegal FM Describes Iran as ‘Friend of Africa,'" Fars News Agency (Tehran), December 13, 2010, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn= 8909221177.

40. "Senegal Stresses Expansion of Ties with Iran," Fars News Agency (Tehran), July 29, 2007.

41. Mamadou Sèye, "Énergie, Prospection Pétrolière, Industrie: Le Sénégal Bénéficie des Solutions Iraniennes," Le Soleil (Dakar), June 28, 2006, http://fr.allafrica.com/stories /200606280743.html.

42. "Iran to Build Oil Refinery and Chemical Plant in Senegal," Gulf News (Dubai), August 3, 2007, http://gulfnews.com /business/oil-gas/iran-to-build-oil-refinery-and-chemical-plant-in-senegal-1.19403.

43. "Iran to Supply Crude Oil to Senegal," Fars News Agency (Tehran), August 28, 2007.

44. "Senegalese President: Nuclear Technology is Iran's Legitimate Right," Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), November 25, 2007.

45. "Maqam Mo'azzam-e Rahabari Zaban-e Amrika va Abargodrat-ha ra Zaban-e Tahdid va er'ab Danestand" [The Supreme Leader Says America Only Knows the Language of Intimidation], Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), February 28, 2008, http://web.archive.org/web/20080301125445/http://www1.irna.ir/fa/news/view/line-1/8612081304213458.htm.

46. "FM: 2008 a Milestone in Iran-Africa Ties," Far News Agency (Tehran), January 30, 2008, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8611100422; and "Najjar Meets Senegalese President, DM," Fars News Agency (Tehran), May 2, 2009, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn= 8802121304

47. "Farmandeh-e Niruye-e Darya-ye Artesh az Barnameh Navgan-e Darya-ye Artesh-e Iran dar Nazdiki Morzha-ye Abi Amrika dar Aqiyanus Atlas Khabar Dad" [The Commander of the Navy Announces the Program of Deploying the Iranian Navy in the Atlantic Ocean near the Waters of America], Nasim (Tehran), September 27, 2011, http://nasimonline.ir /TextVersion/Detail/?Id=275914&Serv=9.

48. "Biyanieh-e Vizarat-e Kharajeh dar Mavarad Qata'ye Kemal Ravabat-e Diplomatik Senegal ba Tehran" [Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Severing of Diplomatic Relations between Senegal and Tehran], Fararu.com (Tehran), February 21, 2011, http://fararu.com/vdciuraq.t1a3r2bcct.html.

49. "Tehran Gives Senegal Second Chance to Decide on Ties with Iran," Fars News Agency (Tehran), February 26, 2011, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8912070878.

50. For example, see the Said Hajjarian interview with Andisheh Pouya: "Sayyid Hajjarian az bi E'temadi Hashemi O va Dostanesh Miguyad," [Said Hajjarian Speaks of Hashemi's Lack of Trust toward Him and His Friends], Khabar Online (Tehran), June 25, 2012, www.khabaronline.ir/print/237993/politics/parties. Kuwait authorities also say a similar dynamic was in play in the incident referred to in "Kuwait Condemns Iran Rejection of Court Verdict," Gulf News (Dubai), May 31, 2012, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/kuwait/kuwait-condemns-iran-rejection-of-court-verdict-1.1030132.

51. "Iran-Senegal Resume Severed Diplomatic Relations," Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), February 7, 2013, www.irna.ir/en/News/80533391/Politic/Iran-Senegal_resume_severed_diplomatic_relations.

52. "Iran, Zimbabwe Vow to Resist US Dominance," Fars News Agency (Tehran), November 21, 2006; and "U.S. Warns Zimbabwe Over Uranium Plan," New Zimbabwe (London), March 9, 2011, www.newzimbabwe.com/news4637-US%20warns%20Zim%20over%20uranium%20plan/news.aspx

53. "Ahmadinejad: Iran, Sudan Defend Each Other at Int'l Bodies," Fars News Agency (Tehran), March 2, 2007; "Sudan, Noqteh-ye Ateka-ye Ravabat-e Iran va Africa ast" [Sudan is the Cornerstone of Iran's Relations with Africa], Aftab-e Yazd (Tehran), March 7, 2008, http://web.archive.org/web /20080307111644/http://www.aftab-yazd.com/textdetalis.asp?at =3/6/2008&aftab=8&TextID=37476.

54. International Criminal Court, "The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir," February 5, 2009, www.icc-cpi.int /en_menus/icc/situations%20and%20cases/situations/situation %20icc%200205/related%20cases/icc02050109/Pages
/icc02050109.aspx
.

55. "Ahmadinejad to Leave for Sudan," Fars News Agency (Tehran), February 27, 2007; and "Ahmadinejad Arrives in Sudan," Fars News Agency (Tehran), September 26, 2011, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007040020.

56. "Sudan, noqteh-ye ateka-ye rivabat-e Iran va Africa ast" [Sudan is the Cornerstone of Iran's Relations with Africa], Aftab-e Yazd (Tehran), March 7, 2008, http://web.archive.org/web /20080307111644/http://www.aftab-yazd.com/textdetalis.asp?at =3/6/2008&aftab=8&TextID=37476.

57. "Iranian Fleet of Warships Dock in Sudanese Port," Fars News Agency (Tehran), October 29, 2012, http://english .farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9107115704; and "Iranian Warships Dock in Sudan's Port," Fars News Agency (Tehran), December 8, 2012, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php ?nn=9107125136.

58. "Wazir al-Riyaseh al-Sudani: Nachnu Kharij al-Mihwar al-Irani" [Minister of the Presidency of Sudan: We Are Outside the Iranian Axis], Ash-Sharq al-Awsat (London), November 4, 2012, www.aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&issueno=12395&
article=702669&state=true#.USWWGmfAXeI
; and Ian Black, "Israel Accused of Air Strike on Sudan Munitions Factory," The Guardian (London), October 25, 2012, www.guardian.co.uk/world /2012/oct/25/israel-accused-sudan-munitions-air-strike.

59. "Eritrean President: Nuclear Energy, Iran's Undeniable Right," Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran), June 6, 2009, http://assenna.com/eritrean-president-nuclear-energy-irans-undeniable-rights/.

60. Reporters Without Borders for Freedom of Information, Press Freedom Index 2013, http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html.

61. "Iran's 5th Fleet to Head for Gulf of Aden," Press TV, January 20, 2010, http://web.archive.org/web/20100125172427 /http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116618§ionid= 351020101; and "Najat-e Koshti Irani ‘Attar az Jang Dozdan-e Darya-ye" [Rescue of the Iranian Ship ‘Attar' From Pirates], Abrar (Tehran), May 18, 2011, www.abrarnews.com/politic/1390 /900228/html/rooydad.htm#s148893.

 

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