“The Iranian government would support the ongoing restructuring of the Nigerian economy,” Zarif said in a Monday meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, which was also attended by Iran’s Ambassador to Nigeria Morteza Rahimi Zarchi.
“We are very keen to see a better and stronger relationship with Nigeria, which is the largest country in Africa and a major global player,” the Iranian FM went on to say, as reported by Nigerian media and covered by IFP.
Zarif said he has come to Nigeria along with a delegation of more than 70 members of the Iranian business community who had already started discussions on making investment in sectors like banking, education, scholarship, agriculture, energy, tourism and technology development.
Iran’s top diplomat also said that Tehran is ready to cooperate with Nigeria in the fight against such terrorist groups as Boko Haram.
“Terrorist groups are the common enemy of all Iranian and Nigerian people,” he said.
Nigeria to Study Iranian Model of Diversification: President Buhari
President Buhari, for his part, said the Federal Government of Nigeria would work to ameliorate the challenges facing the Nigerian economy within a short period of time by under-studying the experiences of countries like Iran which thrived in adversity.
He said the Iranian economy remained an inspiration for Nigeria in the deployment of technology to harness and export gas, grow food for the populace and promote entrepreneurship in education.
“The progress made by Iran within a short period of 30 years is really commendable. Within the period, you have been able to harness gas flaring, and you are now exporting it. You have recorded strides in security, manufacturing, agriculture and technology.”
“You have also achieved a lot in nuclear research. I must also congratulate you for successfully negotiating with America and the European countries on the development of your nuclear energy.”
The president noted that Nigeria had all the potentials for growing into a great economy through more inclusive planning, consistency in government policies and commitment to the realization of development targets.
“In Nigeria, we are learning. We are learning the hard way through hardship, and we are learning very quickly on how to explore other sectors of the economy like gas, solid minerals and agriculture for growth.
“We are grateful for your support and cooperation in opening up the Nigerian economy for diversification,’’ Buhari told the envoy.
Zarif arrived in Nigeria on the first leg of a key four-nation tour of West Africa to improve bilateral diplomatic and trade relations.
Heading a high-profile politico-economic delegation, Zarif left Tehran for the Nigerian capital on Sunday, July 26, and arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport early on Monday.
During his stay in Abuja, the top Iranian diplomat is also scheduled to meet with senior Nigerian officials and exchange views on various issues of mutual interest.
Zarif’s tour will then take him to Ghana, Guinea (Conakry) and Mali.