Zim to deepen ties with Iran — President President Mnangagwa signs the book of condolences at the Iranian Embassy in Harare yesterday following the tragic death of President Ebrahim Raisi at the weekend. - Picture: Innocent Makawa.

Wallace Ruzvidzo-Herald Reporter

FRATERNAL relations between Zimbabwe and Iran will be deepened and consolidated for the mutual benefit of both peoples, President Mnangagwa has said.

The President yesterday signed the book of condolences for the late Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, following his death in a helicopter crash last Sunday.

Speaking to the media after signing the condolence book at the Iranian Embassy in Harare, President Mnangagwa said he had lost a “brother”.

The two Presidents had established brotherly relations over the years, which were further evidenced by the late Iranian President’s historic State Visit to Zimbabwe in July last year.

“Well, I have come here as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, representing the people of Zimbabwe to express our deepest condolences on the passing on of our dear brother, President Raisi, of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who actually was the last (Iranian) Head of State to visit Zimbabwe.

“So, we, the people of Zimbabwe, indeed as I represent them, have come here to express our deepest condolences on the tragic passing on of our dear brother, President Raisi.

“We wish that the warm and fraternal relations should continue and become even more comprehensive as we move forward,” he said.

Addressing the inaugural National Assembly of the Zanu PF War Veterans, Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees League in Harare on Wednesday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had lost a “dependable ally and profound statesman”.

“Allow me also, on behalf of our revolutionary mass party, Zanu PF, the people, and the Government of Zimbabwe, and indeed on my own behalf, to express my heartfelt and deepest sympathies to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as the people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on the tragic death of His Excellency President Ebrahim Raisi.

“In him, Zimbabwe has lost a true and dependable ally, and profound statesman who stood with us in rejecting the hegemonic and imperial tendencies of our detractors,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe did not take President Raisi’s State Visit last year lightly as it further consolidated the already existing excellent bilateral relations between the two countries.

“Zimbabwe will always cherish the historic State Visit by the late President, His Excellency Raisi, last year in July. This saw our two countries broadening our cooperation and deepening our long-standing excellent bilateral relations. May his dear departed soul rest in eternal peace,” said the President.

The aircraft in which President Raisi was travelling crashed into a fog-shrouded mountainside in northwestern Iran on Sunday as he headed back to Tehran after attending a ceremony on the border with Azerbaijan.

A search and rescue operation was subsequently launched, which involved help from Russia, the European Union (EU), and Turkey.

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