Media statement following the visit by the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs, Dr Hadi Solaimanpour to South Africa

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim met with the Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs of Iran, Dr Hadi Solaimanpour, in South Africa over the past few days. South Africa and Iran maintain a good relationship and have done so for many years. Relations extend into many fields and Iran is still South Africa’s major supplier of crude oil.

The two Deputy Ministers exchanged views on issues related to the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Iran, including the hosting by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of her counterpart later this year for the Eleventh Session of the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission is one of the longest-running and most constructive and it has been found to be a useful mechanism to evaluate the state of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Developments in North Africa and the Middle East are obviously at the centre of the world’s attention at the moment and Deputy Minister Ebrahim was interested in hearing from Dr Solaimanpour what Iran’s perspectives on these events were. Iran is obviously, geographically speaking, much closer to developments in the region than what South Africa is and South Africa benefitted from Iran’s understanding of these events.

South Africa’s relationship with Iran allows for a frank exchange of views about all issues and discussions included questions related to disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as human rights. As pointed out by Deputy Minister Ebrahim, South Africa cannot be a member of the United Nations Security Council and expect to make a positive contribution to its deliberations without engaging all the relevant parties on such issues.

In addition to the bilateral meetings, Deputy Minister Solaimanpour also met with the Deputy Ministers of Higher Education and Training, Mineral Resources, Water and Environmental Affairs, as well as with Members of Parliament.

For further information please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974


OR Tambo Building

Private Bag X 152

11 March 2011


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