“Why Sudan’s Military is Shifting Focus Towards Iran”

Jack daniel
2 min readFeb 20, 2024

Sudan’s Acting Foreign Minister, Ali Al Sadiq, recently embarked on a significant diplomatic mission, marking the first high-level visit to Iran in seven years. Al Sadiq’s trip to Tehran in early February included meetings with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, highlighting the deepening ties between the two nations amid Sudan’s internal conflicts.

During the visit, President Raisi reiterated Iran’s support for a strong government in Sudan and its commitment to preserving the country’s territorial integrity. In response, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian praised the plans to reopen embassies and expressed Tehran’s readiness to share expertise in various fields, including industry, engineering, and technology.

The re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Sudan and Iran, agreed upon in October, follows a series of high-level communications. This thaw in relations began with a meeting between Al Sadiq and Amir-Abdollahian in Baku, Azerbaijan, three months prior, the first such public meeting since 2016.

The history of Sudan-Iran relations dates back to the 1990s, when the two nations grew closer following Khartoum’s support for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Iran provided significant financial and military assistance to Sudan, helping the country emerge from diplomatic isolation. However, Sudan cut ties with Iran in 2016 following an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, leading to a breakdown in Iranian-Saudi relations.

The recent warming of relations between Sudan and Iran is seen as a strategic move by Khartoum, especially in light of its civil war. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have faced setbacks against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and have sought military assistance. Iran has reportedly supplied combat drones to Sudan, including the Mohajer-6, to bolster the SAF’s capabilities. This assistance, while limited, could potentially impact the dynamics of the conflict.

The rapprochement with Iran is also seen as a nod to Islamist sectors in Sudan that maintain ties with Tehran. The move has raised concerns, particularly regarding the resurgence of Islamist militias and military battalions in Sudan, which could complicate efforts to stabilize the country.

Diplomatically, Sudan’s realignment with Iran is viewed as a response to its strained relations which supports the RSF. Iran’s strategic interest in Sudan lies in gaining access to the Red Sea, enhancing its regional influence. The implications of Sudan’s diplomatic shift extend to its stance on Palestine, with Khartoum reaffirming its support for the Palestinian cause during Al Sadiq’s visit to Iran.

However, Sudan’s pivot towards Iran could strain its relations with Western countries, which are wary of supporting the RSF. This move may further isolate Sudan on the international stage, complicating its efforts to garner support amid its internal conflicts.



Jack daniel

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