President John Dramani Mahama, on Wednesday said that Ghana and Iran were forming a permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation that would mandate them to strengthen their relations in other areas apart from health, education and agriculture.
He said: “Our cooperation had always been in the areas of agriculture, health and education, and with the formation of a permanent Joint Commission, we can extend our relations to petroleum exploration, oil and gas and exchange of expertise in science and the manufacturing industry.”
President Mahama announced these when he held a joint press briefing with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as part of the Iranian President’s two-day visit to Ghana.
The Iranian President, who had previously visited Niger and Benin, apart from holding discussions with President Mahama, laid wreaths at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, visited the Iran Clinic at Adabraka, met Speaker of Parliament.
The Iranian President would deliver a special address at the Islamic University College, East Legon, Accra, and also address the Iranian community in Ghana.
The two Presidents witnessed the signing of agreements in the areas of education, agriculture, tourism and youth and sports.
President Mahama commended the Iranian government for maintaining their Mission in Ghana even in hard times that Ghana had to close down some of her missions in other countries during military take- over in the country.
President Mahama also praised Iran for sending a high-powered delegation to Ghana for the funeral of late President John Evans Atta Mills and to take part in his inauguration in January this year.
President Mahama promised to partner the Iranian government to strengthen the Non-Aligned Movement, which give impetus for countries to exhibit peace and unity towards the elimination of political pressure on other countries.
“There is a brighter future for Ghana and Iran and the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation will roll out better collaboration that will cement our relations,” President Mahama said.
President Ahmadinejad said both Ghana and Iran had been seeking peace and justice, which would continue to be the bottom-line of their cooperation.
The Iranian President commended President Mahama for sending a delegation to the last Non-Aligned Movement Summit last year.
On Iran’s relations with the West, President Ahmadinejad said the imposition of sanctions on his country had rather empowered it to strengthen their manufacturing industries over the years.
He said: “Before the sanctions, Iran was producing only 32 million tons of cement, but now we produce 80 million tons, and from 90 million tons of steel from then to 20 million currently, while our per capita increased by 3,000 dollars.”
President Ahmadinejad said: “Iran has no problem with the Western countries, but they have with us and they want to plunder our resources, and we are moving ahead with cooperation with other countries to develop”.