S. Africa Could Be Main African Trade Partner

S. Africa Could Be Main African Trade PartnerS. Africa Could Be Main African Trade Partner

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif believes South Africa has the potential to be Iran's principal trading partner in Africa.   

The foreign minister met South African Deputy Foreign Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo on Sunday, who was in Tehran at the head of a political and economic delegation to attend the sixth meeting of the joint political commission, IRNA reported.  

Pointing to the close economic relations between the two countries, Zarif said South Africa can be Iran's "biggest trade partner".

On security cooperation, the top diplomat described terrorist groups operating in Africa as a threat to international security, stressing that fighting extremism is a top priority area for collaboration.

The South African diplomat congratulated Iran on the deal it reached with major powers on its nuclear program.

The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) culminated in a nuclear accord, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in Vienna on July 14.  

Mfeketo said, "South Africa has been Iran's long-time friend, whether in hard times and during the sanctions years or in good times."   

She described her trip to Iran as positive, expressing hope that wide-ranging relations between the two countries would improve.  

Mfeketo said the planned trip by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to Iran, scheduled for November, is a sign of the African country's strong desire for enhanced engagement.   

In a separate meeting with Bolivian Deputy Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Alurralde on Sunday, Zarif stressed the importance of developing ties with Latin America.     

The foreign minister said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks closer relations with Latin American countries and promotion of cooperation and consultations on regional and international issues."

Zarif pointed to the nuclear deal and said, "We proved that pressure and economic sanctions against countries will produce no results."

Alurralde called for expansion of relations, especially in the field of energy, and underlined the need for exchange of political and economic delegations between the two sides.