Iran–Sudan relations refers to diplomatic, economic and military relations between Sudan and Iran. For nearly three decades, Iran and Sudan enjoyed a close relationship. However, Sudan decided to expel all Iranian groups just hours before joining a Saudi military operation in Yemen in March 2015 as the Sudanese President is said to be calculating in favour of his fragile economy in addition to the trauma and horror struck the Sudanese society seeing its best and brightest joining ISIS this March, generating a huge public alarm about regional security. The emotional component of protecting Saudi Arabia and walking back to the (Arab house) unfolded dramatically in Arab media. On January 4, 2016 Sudan cut off all diplomatic relations with Iran due to tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. As a result, the bond between both countries has severely soured.
Sudan maintained good relations with the Shah's Iran, securing a number of loans during the period prior to the Iranian revolution. Following the revolution, Sudan, led by pro-West Gaafar Nimeiry, supported Iraq in its war with Iran, in line with Arab League policy. Sudan's Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi made an official visit to Tehran in the late 1980s thus establishing ties with the Islamic Republic. Following the Islamist-supported military coup led by Omar al-Bashir, Sudan sought close relations with Iran. The growing ties help continue the Islamisation of Sudan. In the post-Cold War era, Sudan remains Iran's closest ally in Africa. Sudan was for years the only African state ruled by Islamists. The two states, despite the "Sunni-Shiite divide" quickly became close allies. In 1991, Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani made an official visit to Khartoum, accompanied by more than 150 Iranian officials." He declared the "Islamic Revolution of Sudan, alongside Iran's pioneer revolution, can doubtless be the source of movement and revolution throughout the Islamic world."
In 1991, evidence of increasing economic and military links between Sudan and Iran was revealed. High-level Iranian leaders have made numerous visits to Sudan, during which a trade agreement between the two countries have been established. Economic bilateral relations continue to be a focus area of the Iran–Sudan relationship. Iran is suspected of supplying Sudan with one million tons of oil each year.
In November 1993, Iran was reported to have financed Sudan's purchase of some 20 Chinese ground-attack aircraft. Iran pledged 17 million in financial aid to the Sudanese government, and arranged for $300 million in Chinese arms to be delivered to the Sudanese army.
It was reported that Iran sent up to 2,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Sudan. Iranian Defense Minister Ali Akbar Torkan met with the commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces to negotiate further military assistance. Sudan has since modeled its army after Iran's Revolutionary Guards, who had trained them.
In 1995, a military delegation from Iran visited Khartoum to assess Sudan's military needs. Iran provided Sudan with armored cars, heavy artillery, and radar equipment. In the following year, the two countries signed an agreement to broaden the scope of their cooperation.
In April 1996 the Government was reported to be granting the Iranian navy the use of marine facilities in exchange for financial assistance for the purchase of arms although, in response to a Sudanese request for military aid in 1997, Iran provided assistance only with military maintenance. The West has expressed deep concern over the growing military ties between Sudan and Iran. Sudan has been implicated in training at least 10 paramilitary camps in collaboration with the Iranian military and Iran-backed terrorist groups. By 1993, the U.S. Department of State named Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism.
In 2008, Sudan and Iran signed a military cooperation agreement. The agreement was signed by Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar and his Sudanese counterpart Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein.
During the 2011 Libyan civil war, Western intelligence agencies reported Iran's Quds Force stole dozens of Russian-made surface-to-air missiles from Libya and smuggled them across the border into Sudan. According to the reports, the weapons included SA-24 missiles, which were sold to Libya in 2004. Intelligence officials also believe that other weapons were seized from Gaddafi and are now held at a secret facility run by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in Northern Darfur.
In a leaked document from summer 2014, the ties between Iran and Sudan are described as being “strategic”, “military” and “defensive”. General Siddiq Amer, Director General of Intelligence and Security, - “Iran is our biggest ally in the region, in terms of cooperation in the areas of intelligence and military industrial production.” General Abd al-Rahim Mohammed Husein, Minister of Defence, said: “ All the advancement in our military industry is from Iran. They opened the doors of their stores of weapons for us, at a time the Arabs stood against us. The Iranian support came when we were fighting a rebellion that spread in all directions including the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Iranians provided us with experts and they trained our M.I. [Military Intelligence] and security cadres. They also trained us in weapons production and transferred to us modern technology in the military production industry. There is one full battalion of the Republican Guards still with us here and other experts who are constructing interception and spying bases in order to protect us, plus an advanced Air Defense system. They built for us Kenana and Jebel Awliya Air Force bases.” The Kenana Air Force base is likely situated south of the city of Rabak (White Nile State), near the Kenana Sugar Company facilities. The minutes reveal that Sudan has also provided weapons to the Houthis (a Shia insurgent group) operating in Yemen.
General Husein revealed that the Kenana Air Force has been used for the transit of Iranian weapons. BM missile launchers and their rockets stored in Kenana and part sold to Qatar to support Libya fighters. Husein’s words thus confirmed Libya’s recent denunciation of Khartoum’s logistical support to the Libya Dawn Militias.
Cultural and diplomatic ties
During the last week of April 2006, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir met with a number of Iranian public figures in Tehran, including the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a joint news conference with al-Bashir on 24 April, Ahmadinejad explained to the public his belief that "expansion of ties between the two countries serves the interests of both nations, the region, and the Islamic world, particularly in terms of boosting peace and stability." Before the conference ended, al-Bashir congratulated Iran for its successful pursuit of "nuclear power for peaceful purposes," while Ahmadinejad restated his opposition to the participation of UN Peacekeepers in Darfur.
In October 2011, Ahmadinejad stated that Iran–Sudan relations are founded on "Common Islamic values." Bashir later stated Sudan would adopt an exclusive Islamic constitution and strengthen Islamic law in the government.
Two Iranian warships docked in Port Sudan on 8 December 2012, marking the second port call by the Iranian navy in Sudan in five weeks. The Iranian navy announced that the 1,400-ton frigate Jamaran and the 4,700-ton support ship Bushehr “docked in Port Sudan, after successfully carrying out their assignments in the Red Sea and were greeted by high-ranking Sudanese naval commanders.”
Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad had initially announced the warship visit for Nov. 30, stating that the port call was “a part of diplomatic and military exchanges between the two countries,” and would last for three days.
Previously, a pair of Iranian navy vessels, the supply ship Kharg and corvette Admiral Naghdi, spent about two days at Port Sudan in late October 2012.
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