Tehran Setting Up Strategic Presence In Red Sea

These are no empty threats: Iran is taking a growing interest in Africa generally and the Horn of Africa in particular. Iran’s goal is not clear yet, but there are concerns that it is primarily interested in propagating its fundamentalist beliefs in the region. If this is the only objective, it might be a tough sell for Shi’ite Iran as virtually all the Muslims in the Horn are Sunni with strong Sufi beliefs. The religious issue might be only a cover-up, hiding the real Iranian objective to establish its military power in this highly strategic environment. In fact Tehran has already established a long-standing and close relationship with Sudan and has made significant progress recently in improving ties with Eritrea and Djibouti. Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki visited Tehran in December 2008, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went to Djibouti in February 2009, when he signed five cooperation agreements with his Djiboutian counterpart. Iranian contact with Ethiopia has been occurring at a lower level, however Iran has also engaged recently in high level contact with the leaders of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the Comoro Islands.

Tehran Setting Up Strategic Presence In Red Sea

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