Iranian President Ahmadinejad arrives in Ghana at 5pm today

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives in the country at 5 p.m. today (Tuesday) to begin a two-day official visit intended to deepen ties between Ghana and Iran.

Dr Ahmadinejad is the sixth President of Iran and is currently the Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, spearheaded by the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, Joseph Broz Tito of  Yugoslavia and Surkano of Indonesia. He has been the Head of State of Iran since August 3, 2005.

The Iranian President has already visited Benin, and will be arriving in Ghana from Niger.

During the two-day visit, the first by him to Ghana, the Iranian President will hold discussions with President John Dramani Mahama and high-ranking government officials on ways of cementing bilateral relations between the two countries, which date back to 1974.

He will also lay a wreath at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and address a public lecture at the Islamic University College in Accra.

Iran is one of the leading producers of oil and gas, and it is envisaged that the interaction between the two Presidents will, to a considerable extent, centre on the oil and gas industry which Iran has the comparative advantage of.

Ghana struck oil in commercial quantities in 2007 while commercial production began in 2010, an activity which was officially inaugurated by President John Evans Atta Mills.

It is expected that President Ahmadinejad and his entourage will share with their Ghanaian counterparts the various opportunities and pitfalls in the oil and gas industry.

Ghana has not yet exploited to the full the various ancillary industries associated with the oil and gas industry which could provide more jobs for the teeming masses of the people, especially the youth, and also generate adequate income for the country.

In addition, Ghana could also learn from the Iranians the various safeguards which should be undertaken by the authorities to prevent unscrupulous persons siphoning the product to line their pockets.

Moreover, Iran could also share with Ghana, ways it had adopted to prevent hijacking of oil  tankers in its waters and also to deal with the spillage of the product.

Furthermore, the country is expecting Iran to extend more scholarships to Ghanaians to study in oil and gas engineering programmes in Iran.

Iran, in spite of being a leading producer of oil and gas, has not abandoned agriculture as it has almost achieved food sufficiency. It is therefore envisaged that the two delegations at their meeting will share experiences which could be of benefit to the country in terms of its food production.

The visit is also expected to discuss the Ghana-Iran Joint Commission which had its last meeting in 2012.

The committee has already signed memoranda of understanding in five areas including vocational training and the expansion of the Iran Clinic in Accra.

Presidents Ahmadinejad and Mahama are likely to also discuss the fate of the Non-Aligned Movement and explore further ways of strengthening the group which is expected to play a more meaningful role in world affairs after the collapse of the socialist bloc.

It will be recalled that Iran hosted the last NAM conference in Tehran during which Mr Ahmadinejad was elected the President.

The Iranian President was born on October 28, 1856 and is currently the political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political organisations in the country.

He studied engineering at the university and thereafter joined the Office for Strengthening Unity after the Iranian Revolution.

He was appointed provincial governor and became Tehran’s Mayor in 2003 and contested on the ticket of his political party as a presidential candidate in the 2005 poll.

During the run-off he polled 62 per cent to become President on August 3, 2005.

He won election for a second term in 2009 that ends in August 2013.

Source: Daily Graphic