Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Iran: South Africa to expand economic relations with Iran

Source: IRNA

Arak, Jan 30, IRNA – South Africa is willing to expand economic relations with Iran, South African Ambassador to Iran Ibrahim Mohammad Saley said here Monday/

He made the remarks in a meeting with some Iranian businessman and craftsman in Iran’s Markazi Province.

The official underlined the facilitation of visa issuance for Iranian merchants, adding that South Africa is the gate of Africa continent.

There are good marine potentials for the exchange of goods between the two countries and also good potentials in case of attracting investment for joint cooperation in production of goods.

Arak Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines Mohammad-Reza Ja'fari for his part declared that Iran's Markazi Province has good capacities for development of economic ties with foreign countries, including South Africa.

Iran and South Africa relation is both economically and politically quite warm and have continued to expand.

South Africa and Iran share historical bilateral relations and the latter supported the South African liberation movements. It severed official relations with South Africa in 1979 and imposed a trade boycott in protest against the country’s apartheid policies. However, in January 1994, Iran lifted all trade and economic sanctions against South Africa and diplomatic relations were reestablished on 10 May 1994.

Iran supported the African National Congress (the majority party in the South African government) as long ago as the apartheid era and has since been a major supplier of oil and infrastructure aid to South Africa. A decade after the restoration of Iranian-South African diplomatic ties, South African Defense Minister Patrick Mosiuoa Lekota visited Iran to discuss defense related cooperation between South Africa and Iran. In March 2008, the two countries held a meeting in Tehran to discuss shipping and technical cooperation, and in January 2009 they held discussions in Pretoria on increasing bilateral trade, nuclear issues, and regional cooperation.

South Africa has always reiterated its position on Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear technology, stating that the IAEA, not the UN Security Council, should deal with the issue. South Africa has insisted that once Iran’s program is deemed peaceful by the IAEA, the international community should treat Iran with equal nuclear rights