Relations between Algiers and Tehran have been boosted by Ebrahim Raisi's recent trip to Algeria

Algeria's rapprochement with Iran causes unease in the West

El presidente argelino Abdelmadjid Tebboune estrecha la mano del presidente iraní Ebrahim Raisi en el Palacio El Mouradia, en Argel, Argelia 3 de marzo 2024. Presidencia argelina/Handout - REUTERS ATENCIÓN REDACCIÓN
El presidente argelino Abdelmadjid Tebboune estrecha la mano del presidente iraní Ebrahim Raisi en el Palacio El Mouradia, en Argel, Argelia 3 de marzo 2024. Presidencia argelina/Handout - REUTERS ATENCIÓN REDACCIÓN

Algeria is following a roadmap that reaffirms its crusade against Western countries. Forced or voluntary, its stance is increasingly close to countries such as Ebrahim Raisi's. Algeria hosted a meeting between Abdelmajdid Tebboune and his Iranian counterpart Raisi as part of the seventh Forum of Gas Exporting Countries, which served to confirm the two countries' intention to deepen their relations.

  1. The Algeria-Iran axis grows stronger
  2. The new memorandums that worry the US

The Algeria-Iran axis grows stronger

This alliance may well be motivated by Algeria's need to seek partners in the face of the increasingly strong leadership of its regional rival, Morocco. The dearth of support from Western countries - increasingly aligned with Morocco and its proposal for autonomy for the Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty - has pushed Algeria into the background, where it has opted to turn towards a sector it had never before left aside.

El presidente argelino Abdelmadjid Tebboune estrecha la mano del presidente iraní Ebrahim Raisi en el Palacio El Mouradia, en Argel, Argelia 3 de marzo 2024. Presidencia argelina/Handout - REUTERS ATENCIÓN REDACCIÓN
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune shakes hands with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the El Mouradia Palace in Algiers, Algeria March 3, 2024. Algerian Presidency/Handout - REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORIAL ATTENTION

The US sanctions imposed on Iran have not prevented Algeria from moving closer to the Iranians, with whom it has signed a series of memorandums in the energy field. This is despite Washington's threats to sanction countries that, like Algeria, partner with Tehran.

However, Abdelmajdid Tebboune's government, aware of this idea, is turning a deaf ear and continuing along a line that has also led it to strengthen its ties with Russia and China. Nor does this come as much of a surprise, as Algerian and Iranian ideas are very much aligned. From the non-classification of Hezbollah as a terrorist group, to support for Palestine, to Tehran's support for the Polisario Front, which is very close to the Algerian regime.

El presidente argelino Abdelmadjid Tebboune se reúne con el presidente iraní Ebrahim Raisi en Argel, Argelia, el 3 de marzo de 2024. Presidencia argelina/Handout via REUTERS ATENCIÓN EDITORES
El presidente argelino Abdelmadjid Tebboune se reúne con el presidente iraní Ebrahim Raisi en Argel, Argelia, el 3 de marzo de 2024. Presidencia argelina/Handout via REUTERS ATENCIÓN EDITORES

The new memorandums that worry the US

Raisi's visit to Algeria resulted in a series of agreements, including one on media coordination. This is an aspect that could further damage the image of the Algerian media, as propaganda is the dominant tone in almost everything that is published in Iran.

The Algerian Ministry of Communication and the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance are the two bodies that have signed a memorandum that is of international concern. Algeria's already impoverished image of transparency will be further undermined if it follows, as it seems, in the footsteps of its Iranian partner.

This is not the only concern, as they have also reached several agreements in the energy field. It is one of the most delicate due to the tense situation that has been experienced around the world since the unilateral abandonment by the United States of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2017, under the presidency of Donald Trump. 

El líder supremo de Irán, el ayatolá Alí Jamenei, camina para hablar después de depositar su voto durante las elecciones parlamentarias y al órgano clerical clave en un colegio electoral en Teherán el 1 de marzo de 2024 – PHOTO/ATTA KENARE/AFP
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei walks to speak after casting his vote during parliamentary and key clerical body elections at a polling station in Tehran on March 1, 2024 - PHOTO/ATTA KENARE/AFP

Without an agreement to control Iran's nuclear production, there is a significant risk that Tehran will increase the level of uranium enrichment. But it has long since ceased to be a risk and has become a real threat. Indeed, in March last year, an IAEA report noted the detection of uranium particles enriched to over 80%.

This level of enrichment set off alarm bells in the international community, which had already seen Iran produce uranium at 60%. However, reaching 80% is a very dangerous limit, since the production of a nuclear weapon requires uranium enriched to between 80 and 90%. This is apart from the fact that the JCPOA's limit for uranium enrichment was only 3.67%.

In this way, Algeria continues to move closer to Iran, demonstrating the West's preference for Morocco as a partner in the region. However, this does not prevent concern over the drift of Tebboune's government, which continues to take steps towards increasing polarisation in North Africa.

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