06 March 2013
Iranian diplomats were all smiles as they resumed ties with a rising African country at the 12th Islamic Summit in Cairo. The event on the evening of February 6th included a photo-op handshake and a signing ceremony, but the historic agreement Iran signed at Cairo’s Fairmont Hotel was signed not with Egypt--but with Senegal.
When Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Senegalese cohort Monsieur Mankeur Ndiaye signed a pledge to increase ties between the two important Muslim states and re-exchange ambassadors, it marked the latest turn in an often-tumultuous Iranian-Senegalese relationship. In 2011, Senegal dramatically broke ties with Iran after claiming Senegalese rebels had been receiving Iranian weapons. Though Senegal pledged to maintain economic ties, the blow was damaging for Tehran. The timing of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference allowed for a personal meeting between Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Senegalese President Macky Sall, who was elected in 2012.