10 March 2014
Press Statement on the visit to South Africa by Dr Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Dr Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran, paid an official visit to South Africa from 4 to 7 March 2014 at the invitation of Mr Max Sisulu, the Speaker of the National Assembly. In addition to his meeting with Mr Sisulu, Dr Larijani also held discussions with President Jacob Zuma on issues of bilateral and international concern.
While the visit of Dr Larijani and his engagements with the South African leadership had been extremely positive and contributed to the strengthening of relations between the two countries, the Department regretted the embarrassment that had been caused to the Government of South Africa and to its guest by a unilateral decision by Shell SA not to refuel Dr Larijani’s aircraft at Cape Town International Airport. The decision, ostensibly due to unilateral sanctions that had been imposed against Iran, was not based on fact. Despite assurances provided to the company by the Department and by the Ambassador of the European Union to South Africa, Shell refused all requests to refuel the aircraft. This caused Dr Larijani’s departure to be postponed by more than 24 hours and forced him to cancel the next leg of his African tour.
The Department wishes to extend its apologies to Dr Larijani for the embarrassment that had been caused and calls on Shell to act in a manner appropriate to its contractual role as a service provider appointed by an agency of the Government of South Africa to provide fuel to aircraft at national airports.
Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
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