(Islamic Republic of)
of Relations | Diplomatic Representation | Travel
Info | Health Requirements | Climate Info
| Currency Info | Trade Info | Visits
and Meetings | Agreements | Interest Groups/
History of Relations
to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, South Africa and Iran maintained formal relations
at the level of Consulates-General as well as good relations in the fields of
trade, science and technology, defence, medicine, energy and mining. After the
revolution in that country, Iran severed relations with South Africa in February
1979 and imposed a total trade boycott against South Africa by the promulgation
of an Act in the Majlis (Iranian Parliament).
The new Iranian government
also supported the South African liberation movements.
Between 1979 and
1994 South Africa and Iran maintained reciprocal Interest Sections under the protection
of the Swiss Government.
In June 1993 the Iranian Representative in Berne,
Ambassador Mohammed Reza Alborzi, informed the South African Ambassador that the
Iranian Government was considering re-establishing contact with South Africa on
a wide front.
Iran lifted all trade and economic sanctions against South
Africa in January 1994 and stated that this was the first step in the progressive
normalisation of relations between the two states. On 16 February 1994 the Iranian
Embassy in Berne informed the South African Embassy that Iran was desirous of
establishing diplomatic relations with South Africa.
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.
South African Representation in Iran
H E Mr W M P Whitehead
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
South African Embassy
in South Africa
H E Mr M Movahhedi Ghomi
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the Islamic Republic
Visa requirements for South Africans
passport holders have to be in possession of a valid visa before entering the
Islamic Republic of Iran.
The following conditions apply :
be applied for at the Iranian Embassy in Pretoria (See address under Iranian Representation
in South Africa above)
Applications for business visas take up to 15 working
days to be processed;
A 15 working day period is required to process applications
for visas to Iran for non-business purposes;
Visas issued are valid for
a single entry for a period of three months from date of issue;
fee for a single entry visa is R200 for private passport holders. This fee is
waived for private passport holders on official visits to Iran only on authorisation
of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
It is not required that South African citizens, residing
in South Africa, be immunized against diseases before visiting Iran.
further information go to Travelers' Health.
The climate is one of great extremes with hot summers and
cold winters. The high altitude of much of the country results in temperatures
of 20 degrees Celsius and below. More temperate conditions are found around the
The country is mainly hot and dry in summer (May to October),
around 30-40 degrees Celsius, and cold and dry in winter (October to March), 0-15
Dress is conservative. Standard dress for Western women
in Iran tends to be a full-length skirt, or long-sleeved shirt and trousers (jeans
are allowed), worn underneath a loose-fitting, below the knees, black or dark
blue coat. A large, plain, dark headscarf should cover the hair and neck and socks
should cover visible parts of the legs.
Men must wear full trousers, not
shorts, preferably with long-sleeve shirts.
Usual business attire is a suit
and tie and is expected to be worn at meetings and receptions.
clothing is necessary during summer; warm clothes are needed in winter.
up-to-date weather information click here.
The monetary unit is the Iranian Rial (IR). The current rate of
exchange is about IR 3500 to the US Dollar.
1 Rand = 1 000 Iranian Rial.
is advisable to travel with USD bills (post 1990). American Express, other credit
cards and travellers cheques in dollars are not accepted.
For current exchange
rates click here.
There are no direct flights between South Africa and Iran. Airlinks
are via Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Istanbul. Emirates Air and Turkish Airlines
could be used from these destinations.
There are four
main hotels i.e. the Homa (ex-Sheraton), Esteghal (ex-Hilton), Azadi (ex-Hyatt)
and Laleh (ex-Intercontinental). A number of modern hotel apartments are available.
VHS and Pal Secam. Videos need to be cleared by the authorities
to ensure that they are not immoral according to Iranian standards. This can be
done at the airport.
Care should be taken not to take books, magazines and
CDs into Iran which could be regarded as offensive to Islamic morals.
areas such as the airport and military installations may not be photographed.
Historical and cultural sites may be photographed.
Time difference to
In the Iranian summer, 2.5 hours ahead of South African
time. In winter, 1.5 hours ahead of South African time.
official language is Farsi which is spoken by more than half of the total population.
Other languages spoken are Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Baluchi and Turkmeni.
French and German are used in business circles.
majority of Iranians are Shi-ite Muslims and a small minority are Christians,
Zoroastrians, Jews and Bahai's.
Hours of Business
open from 09:00 to 16:30 - Saturdays to Wednesdays. On Thursdays from 8:00 to
11:30. (Iran has 11 official banks)
Shops are generally open 09:00 to 13:00
and from 16:00 to 21:00 Saturdays to Thursdays.
Government offices are generally
open from 08:00 to 16:00, Saturdays to Wednesdays.
Banks, shops and government
offices are closed on Fridays as it is a Muslim religious day.
Oil production and agriculture including forestry and fishing.
Industry including mining, construction, manufacturing and power.
Principal trading partners
Germany, Japan and Italy
Oil and gas, carpets, animal skins, hides, metal ores, shoes,
cement, caviar, casings, textiles, motor vehicles.
and live animals, beverages and tobacco, raw materials (except fuel), mineral
fuels, lubricants, animal and vegetable oils and fats, chemical products, paper,
textiles, iron and steel, machinery and motor vehicles.
and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings
If you have any queries with regard to treaties please
contact the Treaty Section at 012 351 0892/0742 or send an e-mail to: email@example.com.
Most common products sought from South Africa include chemicals,
equipment and tools, steel and automotive parts. Iran's major export to South
Africa is crude oil.
For current information on trade statistics between
South Africa and Iran, visit the web site of the Department
of Trade and Industry of South Africa.
Groups and Information