SA seeks better Iran trade ties

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said in Tehran on Sunday that South Africa wanted to study expanding economic and trade relations with Iran under its new government.

“We will never forget the support extended by the Iranian nation and government for the South African people’s campaign against the apartheid regime,” Ms Nkoana-Mashabane said. She was in Tehran to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Hassan Rohani as president.

Rekindled ties between South Africa and Iran could result in the resumption of oil purchases from Iran, among other things. South Africa had halted imports of Iranian oil completely, reports said in June, to avoid US financial sanctions and to comply with European Union sanctions.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said at the time that the US had granted another 180-day exemption from financial sanctions to South Africa, China, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan for “significantly reduced” or completely ended imports of Iranian oil. It was the third exemption for South Africa, reports said.

Iran has observer status at the African Union (AU). The country is considered as one of the AU’s strategic partners along with India, Japan, China, several South American states and Turkey.

“Given the abundance of capacities, the two countries should increase the level of their co-operation in economic and trade fields,” Ms Nkoana-Mashabane told outgoing foreign minister Akbar Salehi.

Last year, President Jacob Zuma underlined South Africa’s willingness to increase bilateral relations with Iran under the right conditions.

By I Africa

 

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