Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi embarks today at the helm of a large delegation to three African nations as his administration pursues "diverse" and "balanced" relations in its foreign policy agenda, the state-run Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday.
The first leg of the tour will take Raisi to Kenya early Wednesday for the signing of bilateral agreements. He will depart for Uganda and Zimbabwe afterward to complete the three-day tour.
The trip marks the first by an Iranian president in over a decade. Raisi's predecessor, moderate Hassan Rouhani, did not visit a single African nation during his two-term tenure, drawing fire from the sitting conservative administration for "shunning" the continent and focusing "excessively" on mending ties with Western adversaries.
While Iran's relations with African countries were "nearly frozen" during Rouhani's eight years, as a leading state-run news agency wrote, the Raisi administration managed to double the volume of trade with Africa, according to statistics by the Iran-Africa Traders Association.