Closing Remarks by Deputy Minister Ebrahim at a Press Conference, Tehran, Iran, 30 September 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press Good Afternoon

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran for the Good hospitality afforded to me and my delegation during our stay in Tehran. This is my first visit to the country as a member of the Government but I have been here before as member of the African National Congress and I am impressed with the development that has taken place since I last visited.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press;

I wish to inform you that I have met Ministers and Seniors officials of various departments and our discussions thus far have been extremely fruitful.

The main reason of my visit here is:

  To prepare for the upcoming 11th Joint Commission between SA and Iran. The Deputy Minister’s Working Group goes through the review of decisions taken during the 10th Joint Commission and discuss ways forward on how to achieve these objectives and it also identifies new objectives that will be considered and discussed at the 11th Joint Commission.

  The Joint commission covers all areas of cooperation between SA and Iran (political and economic) it is expected that the 11 Joint Commission takes place in South Africa before end of this year 2009.

The Joint Commission is one of the most successful joint bi-nationals and was established in 1995 and has been running for 14 years and has been growing from strength to strengths and I am proud to say that South Africa is firmly committed to strengthening and consolidating our bilateral relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen 

South Africa values its relationship with Iran and we are pleased that our political and economic relations are strong and expanding. Iran remains one of the biggest markets for South African products in the Middle East and our investment in the Islamic Republic is among the highest in the region.

During my visit here I have met with Deputy Minister of Economic and Finance- Dr Behrouz Alishirhi ; Defence Minister- Mr. Mohammad Zadeh; Head of the Ministry in Culture - Mr. Moustafavi; Minister in Energy Mr. Chitchian Hamid; Minister in Oil- Mr. Hosseini Shirazi; Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Mohammad Baqeri and we have reiterated the great value South Africa and Iran places and the enhancement and broadening  scope of our relationship especially in trade and economic matters as well as the political arena.

You may be aware that South Africa’s Government has identified five key national priorities to steer the country on its way to further growth and development. These include access to proper health care for all, the provision of adequate housing, the creation of more jobs to curb unemployment, the fight against crime and access to quality education for all South Africans. These five priorities also inform South Africa’s Foreign policy and as the Government of South Africa we welcome any cooperation which will assist us in achieving these five objectives

Iran and SA’s diplomatic relations extends beyond the Joint Commission in that both countries accord priority to the welfare and the security of the people within the Middle East and Africa. South Africa shares Iran’s view of a stable Middle East and strongly believes in the creation of a Palestinian State co-existing peacefully alongside Israel according to the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its Capital.

South Africa supports Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme and encourages Iran’s continued co-operation with the IAEA and today, Wednesday 30 September 2009 during my meeting with Minister Baqeri, he assured me of Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.

South Africa’s foreign policy priority remains the creation of a peaceful and prosperous African continent. It is our belief that South Africa’s relation with Iran greatly contribute to achieving this objective since Iran is today a regional leader whose influence extends well beyond its borders.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I conclude by thanking once again the Government of the Islamic Republic for the warm welcome to your beautiful country and may there be many more such visits to Iran to consolidate Iranian and South African relations further.

I thank you


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