Iran touts Zimbabwe aid, including 620-MW Kariba South upgrade

Iranian Ambassador Rasoul Momeni said February 11 that Iran is ready to implement all its aid agreements with economically strapped Zimbabwe, including an upgrade of the 620-MW Kariba South hydroelectric project.

Momeni spoke in Harare at a commemoration of the 29th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the government-backed Harare Herald reported.

Western governments have cut all but humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe due to sanctions against President Robert Mugabe whose government is accused of human rights violations and failure to maintain rule of law. Erratic power supplies have put pressure on local industries struggling to stay in business in the face of a ten-year economic recession critics blame on the Mugabe government.

In 2005, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) said Iran agreed to help Zimbabwe upgrade Kariba South at a cost of US$250 million. (HNN 8/9/06) ZESA wants to increase output by 40 percent from Kariba South, on the Zambezi River in northwestern Zimbabwe, which produces 39.5 percent of the country’s power. (HNN 11/12/07)

Momeni said Iran has agreements with Zimbabwe including Kariba South, construction of a tractor manufacturing plant, and refurbishment of the Feruka Oil Refinery.

Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Secretary Joey Bimha said Zimbabwe is benefiting from Iran’s broad experience in critical areas such as agriculture, health, industry, and defense.

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