Iran announced last month that it would send aid to Malawi, shortly following cuts in aid to the Southeast African country by the U.S. and the U.K. In an email interview, Scott Lucas, an expert on Iran at the University of Birmingham, discussed Iran-Africa relations.
WPR: What is the current state of Iran's development aid and investment in Africa?
Scott Lucas: Iran has continued, despite -- and arguably because of -- international sanctions, to make a significant effort to further its diplomatic and economic ties with African countries. High-ranking Iranian officials, including the foreign minister, have toured the continent, and, after the immediate furor over the disputed 2009 presidential election died down, African leaders came to Tehran. For example, Senegalese President Abdullah Wade, then chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, visited Iran in October 2009, where he met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.