The Sudanese Army’s use of Iranian drones raises American concerns

The resumption of diplomatic relations between Sudan and Iran, at a time when internal war is raging between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, has raised many concerns among some opposition political forces domestically and some world countries, especially the United States and the West. These relations could lead to increased tensions in the region and escalate internal conflicts in Sudan, potentially resulting in external interventions that further complicate the situation. The international interest in developments in Sudan underscores the need to handle these diplomatic relations with caution and work towards achieving internal stability and peace.

What is the reason behind these concerns? And what can Tehran achieve behind a state suffering from conflicts, wars, and major internal crises threatening the state’s existence?

And how does Iran aspire to exert influence in a country under American pressure and sanctions for many years, which have not completely ended to this day, despite years passing since the departure of al-Bashir?

Firstly, according to the Iranian researcher specializing in regional and international affairs, Hukm Amhaz, “The concerns raised about the return of Sudanese-Iranian relations are nothing but an attempt by those who raise these concerns to achieve their own goals, meaning they want to use Iran to achieve their goals.”

Private Goals

He added, “If we talk about the opposition to Sudanese Army Commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, considering that Iranian-Sudanese relations have returned through him, as he is considered the recognized representative or his government is recognized internationally, which prompted Iran to deal with the matter in accordance with international agreements, and accordingly, it rebuilt relations with Khartoum.”

Amhaz continued, “The fears that are raised are intended to keep Iran an enemy to everyone and a ‘bogeyman’ used to achieve private goals associated with a political tool, whether at the Sudanese domestic level or at the Western level, and if we talk about Iranian benefit from the return of relations with Sudan, we must review the current Sudanese reality and the state of war and internal division, so I do not think that Iran can achieve significant goals behind those relations and how it can invest those relations in a country suffering from civil war.”

The Iranian researcher said, “In my estimation, what Iran aims to achieve behind those relations is to achieve the goals set by the government of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, which necessitates the reopening of relations with Arab countries and Islamic countries in general, which was reflected in the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and some Arab countries, and Sudan was one of the countries that cut off relations with Iran after the clashes between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, followed by the severance of relations by some Arab countries with Iran.”

Cheap Goals

Regarding the rumors about Iran supplying Khartoum with drones, Amhaz said, “This is nothing but an excuse to achieve cheap goals in this context because it is not possible for Tehran to supply the Sudanese army with drones to be used against Sudanese citizens in the current internal war, this is unlikely in my opinion, and talking about this matter is a Western excuse marketed as before when there was talk of Iran supplying Russia with drones to be used in the military operation with Ukraine, which Iran, Russia, and Ukraine denied until now, and have not been able to provide any evidence that those drones are Iranian, despite holding a single meeting between Iranians and Ukrainians and they did not provide evidence and did not attend the second meeting, which was scheduled on time based on orders, if I may say, from the United States of America.”

The Painful Reality

The Iranian researcher pointed out what is happening today around Sudan after the resumption of fears of Sudanese-Iranian relations, specifically Iranian relations with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the other thing they are trying to stir is that Sudan has a location on the Red Sea, so Iran can benefit from it, and the response: How can Iran benefit from that in the current reality? Will Iran go and establish military bases in that region? I believe that this is no more than stirring dust and excuses within the framework of the large international campaign, whether from the West or non-West, against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and things are proceeding within the framework of the ongoing war by the West and the United States of America against Iran.

American Influence

The Iranian researcher confirmed that the United States of America is the one that possesses influence in Sudan, which is under its pressure, not Iran, as evidenced by Sudan cutting off relations with Iran, in addition to the pressures exerted on Sudanese by Americans and others, leading to Khartoum’s agreement to normalize with Israel, which means that the very great influence and impact are for the United States of America, which imposed on Sudanese to recognize Israel in order to lift the sanctions imposed on Sudan.

Previous Relations

In contrast, Sudanese politician Walid Ali said, it must be noted that Sudan established unprecedented relations in Africa with Iran during the nineties economically and militarily, and Iran provided Sudan with manufacturing technology that contributed significantly to the development of Sudan’s military defenses.

Ali added that the sudden severance of relations between Sudan and Iran by the al-Bashir regime was an ill-considered and hasty step because it deprived Sudan of the advantage of being a good mediator and buffer for the periodic tension between Iran and the Gulf states, and even between Iran and countries whose interests are generally linked to the Red Sea.

Western concerns

Ali continued, saying that the fears now stem from the return of those relations, considering that the Red Sea is currently a highly conflicted and turbulent waterway. The West and the Arab Gulf states may fear the possibility of Iran’s expansion along the western coast of the Red Sea, as Sudan has 800 kilometers on the Red Sea and boasts several natural ports that allow the docking of large ships and vessels without any human intervention. These ports have been used in many crises during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, so these fears are entirely justified according to the historical evidence of these coasts.

The Sudanese politician pointed out what any force can do without obstacles on open coasts like these, and amid the Yemeni crisis and escalating tensions due to the Ethiopian agreement and Somali territory and the European-American military build-up, Iran’s entry into many crises may result if the Sudanese government does not manage this file wisely and astutely to avoid slipping and drowning in these already inflamed waters.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian affirmed, during a meeting with his Sudanese counterpart, Ali Al-Sadiq, in Tehran a few days ago, that “the reopening of their embassies is an important step in developing mutual cooperation between the two countries.” Abdollahian’s statements came during Al-Sadiq’s visit to Tehran for high-level talks, the first since Sudan announced in October last year the restoration of relations with Iran, according to the Iranian news agency “IRNA.”

The Iranian Foreign Minister told his Sudanese counterpart during their meeting that “the presence of the Sudanese delegation in Tehran shows the serious will of senior Sudanese officials to enhance and develop relations with Iran,” adding that his country is also committed to developing relations with Sudan, according to him.

Abdollahian also highlighted Iran’s valuable experiences and capabilities in industrial, engineering, modern technological, health, and medical fields, as well as its readiness to transfer these experiences with the aim of expanding and developing Sudan.

On the other hand, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Al-Sadiq expressed his regret for the diplomatic rupture between Tehran and Khartoum in 2016, and expressed his country’s sincere desire to restore and expand bilateral relations.

The Sudanese government announced in October 2023 the resumption of diplomatic relations with Iran, thereby ending a diplomatic hiatus between the two countries that lasted about 7 years.

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