Kenya provokes diplomatic spat with Iran oil deal

Iranians Ahmed Abolfathi Mohammed (right) and Sayed Mansour Mousari when they appeared  in a Nairobi court on June 25 on a   terrorism-related charge. File
Iranians Ahmed Abolfathi Mohammed (right) and Sayed Mansour Mousari when they appeared in a Nairobi court on June 25 on a terrorism-related charge. File 

Kenya’s diplomatic ties with Western trading partners are expected to come under strain over the next few weeks following its continued dealings with Iran.

On Monday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of planning to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Kenya a week after two that country’s nationals were charged with preparing to commit a felony and being in possession of an explosive material, RDX, for unlawful purposes.

Officials in Kenya yesterday said that two Iranian agents arrested with explosives planned to attack Israeli, American, British or Saudi Arabian targets inside Kenya, according to a report by the Associated Press.

“There are no limits to Iranian terrorism,” said the Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement posted on his office’s website.

The two Iranians, Ahmad Abolafathi Mohammed and Sayed Mansour Mousav were arrested after grenade attacks in Mishomoroni estate, Mombasa that left at least one person dead and several others injured.

The two then led police to Mombasa Golf Course where e 15 kilograms of the powerful explosive, RDX, was found. “After Iran sent its people to assassinate —on US soil— the Saudi Arabian ambassador and to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Azerbaijan, Bangkok, Tbilisi and New Delhi, its intention to perpetrate attacks on African soil has now been exposed,” said Mr Netanyahu.

He said the international community needed to fight “the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world”.

The Iranian embassy in Kenya had not responded to queries on the matter by the time the Business Daily went to press.

The revelations come days after Energy permanent secretary Patrick Nyoike announced that the country had signed a memorandum of understanding for the supply of oil by the Iranian National Oil Company. The move is expected to put Kenya at odds with its Western trading partners.

An oil embargo by the European Union took effect this week bringing to a halt crude import to 27 countries in the region.

The United States Congress is also expected to this month expand sanctions against Iran on account of the country’s nuclear programme.

According to the latest publication of the Economic Survey, value of exports to Israel and to Iran stood at Sh1.42 and Sh1.95 billion while the value of imports stood at Sh6.34 and Sh3.67 respectively as at the end of last year.

The value of exports to the United States and to European Union countries including the United Kingdom stood at Sh25.71 and Sh114.95 billion while the value of imports stood at Sh44.56 and Sh193.8 billion respectively.

The United States has already warned the Tanzania government for allowing Iranian oil tankers belonging to the Iranian National Oil Company to use its flags saying that it may reconsider ties with East Africa’s second largest economy.