Africa Notes: Iran and Africa, 1984 - August 1984
August 15, 1984
In the last two years, Iran's foreign policy has entered a new activist phase that reflects both the consolidation of the Islamic regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and its desire to achieve greater legitimacy in the international community.
The ideological basis of this policy is militant Third World activism blended with radical Islam. The present international system is viewed as fundamentally unjust, and the globe as divided into the "oppressed nations" and the "oppressors," with the two superpowers grouped as the worst of the oppressors. The "oppressed" can save themselves only by joining forces and cooperating with each other. The outreach to Africa-arguably the world's poorest and most exploited continent-is a logical priority.
A second dimension of Iran's growing attention to Africa is economic, and involves the same practical considerations that underlay relations with a number of (mostly pro-Western) countries on the continent during the Shah's rule.
There is also a third dimension to Iran's foreign relations, and that is the role of Islamic zealots dedicated to exporting their message of radical Islam and encouraging other Islamic revolutions on the Iranian model.