Iran President Ebrahim Raisi's visit to Kenya cancelled hours to State briefing

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attends a summit via video link at the Office of the President of Iran, in Tehran, Iran, July 4, 2023. [Reuters]

State House in Nairobi announced on Tuesday, July 11, that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's visit to the country had been rescheduled. 

Initially, Raisi was scheduled to meet President William Ruto for bilateral talks, followed by a joint press conference at 9:00 am on Tuesday. 

However, journalists who had arrived to cover the event were turned away when it was revealed that the highly anticipated press conference had been rescheduled at the last minute.

Our calls to State House to establish the reason for the rescheduling remained unanswered, at the time of publishing. 

Raisi's visit to Kenya was part of a three-day tour that also included Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The tour marks the Iranian President's first visit to Africa in 11 years.

Kenya and Iran have maintained diplomatic relations since 1963, and although the trade volume between the two countries has been relatively modest, they have collaborated in various areas such as education, culture, and security.

Trade primarily involves Kenyan exports of commodities like tea and coffee, while Iran exports oil, carpets, and machinery to Kenya.

Efforts have been made to enhance business relations, including the signing of a trade agreement. 

In the field of education, Iranian universities have provided scholarships to Kenyan students, fostering cultural exchanges between the two nations.

Security cooperation has also been a notable aspect of the relationship, with Kenya and Iran sharing intelligence and working together to counter-terrorism.

However, economic ties have faced challenges due to international sanctions imposed on Iran.