General News of Tuesday, 16 April 2013
There appears to be worrying concerns in a section of the Ghanaian media over the two-day visit of the hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Ghana.
The Iranian president’s three legged West African trip saw him visit Benin last Sunday, Niger yesterday and he is due for Ghana today.
Rumours are rife that his visit to the uranium rich Niger may well be strategic given the recent problems Niger has with France, who are their buyers; Benin because, that is where they (Niger) have used as a port over the years to export uranium.
In an interview with the Chief Executive of the Danquah Institute (DI), Gabby Otchere-Darko, he said (the visit) could have a damning consequence on the Ghanaian foreign relations with the West because of President Ahmadinejad’s hard-line stance against the United States, Israel and Europe.
Gabby also hinted that its unclear as to what President Mahama’s foreign policy is, but appears to be leaning on Iran: “the President sent a special envoy, Kojo Tsikata, last November with a special message to the Iranian President which was never made public so it means that he has come to respond to whatever was detailed in that special message.”
Readers would also recall reports that 80 million dollars worth of Ghana’s gold which was being transported to Iran was seized at a Turkish airport because the plane transporting the gold was grounded for lack of proper documentation.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the sixth and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran (ABII), a coalition of conservative political groups in the country.
His 2005 presidential campaign, supported by the ABII garnered 62% of the runoff votes and he became President on 3 August 2005.
Ahmadinejad is a controversial figure both within Iran and international. He has been criticized domestically for his economic lapses and disregard for human rights. Internationally he is criticized for his hostility towards some countries, most notably Israel and United States.
He launched a gas rationing plan in 2007 to reduce the country’s fuel consumption and cut the interest rates that private and public banking facilities could charge. He also supports Iran’s nuclear program. His elections to a second term in 2009 was widely disputed and caused widespread protest domestically and drew significant international criticism.