Iran deals itself into African game

…Expanding horizons
Irrespective of the outcome of the tumult surrounding the arms shipment, recent events in West Africa paint a sensationalized picture of Iran’s activities on the continent. Combining elements of diplomatic soft power in the form of calls to jointly bolster South-South unity and resistance against foreign imperialism with tangible actions in the trade, business and aid sectors, Iran’s venture into Africa fits a recent pattern of its foreign policy that has witnessed it nurture relations with countries outside of the greater Middle East. The elevation of Africa in Iran’s strategic thinking was displayed by its hosting of a two-day Iran-Africa summit in Tehran on September 14-15, 2010. The event brought heads of state, diplomats, business leaders and cultural representatives from over 40 African nations to Iran to discuss a range of issues… Iran has also committed itself to directly engaging Africans on African soil over the past few years.,,The Islamic Republic has also tried its hand in multilateral diplomacy on issues impacting Africa…As it goes to great lengths to soften the revolutionary aspects of its Shi’ite Islamic identity and politics, Iran does not shy away from showcasing its Muslim character in its dealings with Muslim countries and communities on the continent. Iranian religious foundations have established close ties with Shi’ite minorities in countries such as Senegal and Nigeria and have hosted African students …

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