Saturday 24 Feb 2018 | 19:11 | SYDNEY
Saturday 24 Feb 2018 | 19:11 | SYDNEY

Iran's Honiara gambit



13 November 2008 10:31

Tehran and Honiara have little in common, but as Taiwan found out a long time ago, the Solomon Islands’ vote in the UN General Assembly is worth as much as that of the US. Hence the interest Iran has started to show in the welfare of Solomon Islanders. The two countries recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which may eventually lead to the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The Solomons Foreign Minister William Haomae recently returned from an official visit to Iran, where he led a delegation to discuss areas of future cooperation with the Islamic Republic. And even more recently, the Ministry of Health has left open the possibility of Iran funding the travel of Solomons students to Cuba for medical training (if only North Korea could get involved we'd have a trifecta of evil in the South Pacific).

So what does this all mean for the region? Iran’s revolutionary form of Islamic government is hardly going to find any adherents in Malaita or Guadalcanal, while the Solomons Government is grateful for aid money that is likely to come with only one string attached – a pro-Iran vote in the UN if and when required. Of more immediate interest is whether Iran’s largesse extends to any more of our Pacific neighbours, if the Solomons-Iran link proves fruitful for both parties.

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