Deputy Minister Ebrahim to co-chair the fourth meeting of the SA-Iran Deputy Ministerial working group

Pretoria- International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim will lead the South African delegation to the fourth meeting of the SA- Iran Deputy Ministerial Working Group scheduled to take place on the 28 - 29 September 2009. Deputy Minister will be supported by Amb. Jerry Matjila, Deputy Director General: Asia and Middle East.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim’s visit comes within the context of South Africa’s priority and commitment in enhancing and broadening the scope of the relationship and cooperation with Iran especially in trade and economic matters within the framework of South-South Cooperation. South Africa enjoys sound bilateral relations with Iran and accordingly the fourth SA-Iran Ministerial Working Group meeting will discuss the following issues:

  • Bilateral and economic relations between two countries
  • Developments in Africa and the Middle East and Regional Cooperation
  • Human Rights, social and Health issues
  • International cooperation, trade and security

While in Iran, Deputy Minister Ebrahim will pay a courtesy call on Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance, Dr Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini, and it is expected that the discussion will include amongst others:-

  • The progress made on the implementation of decisions taken during the Tenth Joint Commission,  and
  • The South African Trade office that has recently opened in Iran and its engagements with projects of an economic nature.

Bilateral Relations with South Africa

Diplomatic relations with South Africa were re- established on 10 May 1994 after the first democratic elections. Ambassador Mohammed Sharif Mahdavi was the first Iranian Ambassador to South Africa after the resumption of diplomatic relations. In turn, Ambassador Moosa Moolla was the first South African Head of Mission in Tehran after the resumption of ties. Ambassador Yusuf Saley is currently serving as the South African Ambassador in Tehran whilst Iran’s Ambassador in South Africa is Ambassador Ashgar Ebrahimi Asl. 
In 1995 South Africa and Iran established a Joint Bilateral Commission to allow for a high-level review of bilateral relations and to consider ways in which these relations could be expanded further. The JBC is chaired by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance; and meets alternatively in South Africa and Iran. The 10th meeting of the JBC was held in Tehran in July 2008. The 11th JBC will be held in Pretoria in 2010.

Economic Relations

Iran remains one of the biggest markets for South African products in the Middle East and investment in the Islamic Republic is among the highest in the region




Trade Balance


R    301 412 000

R   9 286 363 000

- R   8 984 942 000


R    347 880 000

R 15 222 821 000

- R 14 847 941 000


R    785 208 000

R 14 324 471 000

- R 13 539 263 000


R 1,438 361 000

R 18 328 963 000

- R 16 890 602 000


R 1,539 804 000

R 20 802 502 000

- R 19 262 698 000


R 1,281 963 000

R 27 115 964 000

- R 25 834 001 000

2009 (June)

R      91 946 000

R   2 019 951 000

- R   1 928 005 000

From the above figures it can be seen that South Africa’s total exports to Iran have declined from 2007 to 2008 while its total imports from Iran have increased substantially. The trade balance is highly in Iran’s favour, this being due to Africa’s high demand for oil from Iran. In 2008 Iran was South Africa’s second biggest supplier of oil, Saudi Arabia being the first. An estimated R 26,640,752 000 worth of crude oil was imported from Iran, i.e. 21, 4% of all South African oil imports.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim will conclude his visit and return to South Africa on 02 October 2009

For Further information contact Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152

25 September 2009


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