Watch out, Iran is putting a foot in Niger. Report Soufan Center

Tehran is trying to exploit the divisions between Western countries and the juntas in the Sahel. Also in the crosshairs is the country that hosts 250 Italian soldiers

Iran is exploiting the growing rift between several coup leaders in the Sahel – in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger – and Western countries, including the United States and France. This is underlined by a report by the Soufan Center, a research center founded by Ali Soufan . Iranian leaders are convinced that strengthening relations with African leaders can help Tehran circumvent sanctions imposed by the United States and strengthen its role as a supplier of sophisticated weapons, particularly armed drones, it said. Iran’s position on the Middle Eastern crisis and on US and Western policies more generally arouses the interest of many countries in Africa and the Global South.

Among these is Niger, a key country in the Sahel and on the emigration routes where there are around 250 Italian soldiers engaged in the bilateral Misin mission, and which has closed its doors to France and the United States. Since last summer the country has been governed by the junta of General Abdourahamane Tiani . In recent days the latter received General Giovanni Caravelli , director of the Information and External Security Agency. It was, as reported on , a meeting that follows the visit of Ambassador Riccardo Guariglia , general secretary of the Farnesina, and General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo , head of the Joint Forces Top Operational Command. The Italian government’s objective is to “resume dialogue with the de facto Nigerian authorities”, as Antonio Tajani , vice-president of the Council and Foreign Minister, declared in recent weeks .

“Seeking to take advantage of Niger’s turn against Western powers and largely avoiding accusations of seeking uranium supplies in Niger, Iran declared in late January that it was willing to help the country overcome international sanctions,” recalls the Soufan Center report. In fact, on January 24, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Mokhber met with Nigerien Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, condemning “the cruel sanctions imposed by the system of domination” and coming to the aid of the junta: “We will certainly share the experiences we have” on how circumvent the sanctions “with our brothers” in Niger.

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