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Iran, Africa pledge tighter ties during summit

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The two-day event is in Tehran
  • Heads of state and other Africa representatives are attending
  • The summit comes amid intensified efforts by Iran to woo Africa
  • Ahmadinejad visited Uganda, Zimbabwe earlier this year

(CNN) -- The Iran-Africa summit continues Wednesday, a day after the sides pledged stronger political and economic ties among their countries.

During an opening speech Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran and Africa have excelled despite sanctions, state media reported.

"Rich culture, a history full of ups and downs and an aspiration for a bright future for the human kind are part of commonalities of Iran and Africa," Ahmadinejad said, according to Press-TV.

Relations between Iran and Africa are complementary, the president said, adding that Tehran was willing to provide the continent with expertise and experience.

The summit is the best platform to consolidate ties, he said.

Representatives from more than 40 African nations are attending the two-day event in Tehran.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and his Malawian counterpart, Bingu wa Mutharika, are also at the event, state media said.

The summit comes amid intensified efforts by Iran to woo Africa.

In April, Ahmadinejad visited Uganda to seek support for his country's controversial nuclear program. Uganda is a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

"We want Uganda to understand that our nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but Iran is being denied the right to develop it on baseless suspicions by the West," Ahmadinejad said at the time.

He also made a stop in Zimbabwe, where he joined President Robert Mugabe in a fierce opposition of the West.

CNN's Faith Karimi contributed to this report.