March 02, 2010
Mauritania-Iran Foreign Relations
Iranian and Mauritanian officials met in Tehran in January 2010 to discuss economic cooperation. The Mauritanian Minister of Economic and Development Affairs, Sidi Ould Al Tah, invited Iranian entities to invest in Mauritania's fishery, animal husbandry, agriculture, mining, and service sectors. Other topics discussed included investment in tourism and expansion of free trade zones.
Mauritania has shown increasing interest in developing its relationship with Iran. In January 2010, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Mauritanian for cutting its ties with Israel. Israel closed its embassy in Nouakchott after Mauritania’s January 2009 decision to suspend diplomatic ties with country. Before the détente, Mauritanian was one of only three Arab nations to maintain formal ties with Israel. Ayatollah Khamenei also said during a meeting in Tehran with Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz that "surely, the day will come when the nations of the region will witness the destruction of the Zionist regime...when the destruction happens will depend on how the Islamic nations approach the issue." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joined the Supreme leader in commending Mauritania’s cessation of ties with Israel.
During a meeting between Ahmadinejad and Abdel Aziz, the Iranian president said that "the two nations and governments of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania can play much effective and determining role in international arenas [sic].” Abdel Aziz emphasized the common views held by Mauritania and Iran and stressed the need and necessity of developing ties between the two Muslim nations. The Mauritanian president, leading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, arrived in Iran for a two-day visit to confer with Iranian officials on bilateral ties and regional and international issues. Abdul Aziz extended an invitation to his Iranian counterpart to visit the African country.