Thursday, 5 August 2010

Iran in need of Libyan support

Libyan relations with Iran have changed, on the surface at least; from a patronising Iran undertaking only small-scale joint projects in Libyan education, health and petroleum, to a situation where Iran apparently needs Libyan support.

In many ways, the roles of the two states have altered to give Libya a stronger position than formerly. Mutual support in the UN was clearly seen during the last few years when Iran backed a successful Libyan bid to take one of the 47 seats on the UN Human Rights Council.

This was achieved partly by a decision of the US not to blackball the Libyan leader but also by Iran's help in mustering the votes of the majority of the Asian-African bloc. Future co-operation of Libya with Iran might, in the future, generate a more antipathetic response in the US.

In mid-June, a senior member of the Islamic Republic, Dr Ali Larijani, made a strong point to the Libyan Ambassador in Iran, Sa'ad Mujber that no objections now existed to dampen an expansion of Libyan-Iranian relations.

In early July, ties were also consolidated by a series of mutual congratulations begun by the Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, when he stated that relations between Tripoli and Tehran would be strengthened by agreements covering areas such as energy and construction.

At a meeting between Rezaei and Mujber, the former went out of his way to praise Colonel Qadhafi's achievements, while the Ambassador made a considerable impression when he, in turn, described Iran as an influential and powerful country in the MENA region.

The question of sanctions against Iran proposed by the UN also strengthened the Iranian wish for Libya to be on its side in reducing the weight of the new regulations introduced by the US and France. Libya has not yet officially responded to the Iran sanctions situation at the UN but is known to be against the US on the issue.

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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