S. Africa Could Be Major Trade Partner 

S. Africa Could Be  Major Trade Partner S. Africa Could Be  Major Trade Partner 

President Hassan Rouhani said the long history of economic cooperation between Tehran and Pretoria and their close political ties have enabled the two sides to strike a strong partnership.

The president made the statement in a meeting of the high-ranking delegations of Iran and South Africa in Tehran on Sunday, reported.

Rouhani added that after the removal of international sanctions on Iran, the ground is now prepared for boosting cooperation with the African state, which he referred to as a "close friend" in hard times when Tehran was under sanctions.

"Today, trade volume between Iran and South Africa is not satisfactory, but if the potential is tapped, South Africa could be one of the main trade partners of Iran," he said.

The president said the positive experience of Iranian companies' cooperation with South African firms in various fields, including communications and energy, has provided a solid ground for expanding collaboration to other fields, including banking, industries, mining, transit, science, agriculture and tourism.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who headed his country's delegation, said Pretoria is resolved to transform Iran ties into a "strategic partnership".

"With enhanced economic and commercial relations between Iran and South Africa, great capacities for collaboration between Asia and Africa will emerge," he said.

The African president stressed that it is necessary to encourage private sectors to make contacts and work together to help develop relations.

After the meeting of the high-ranking delegations, the two sides signed eight memorandums of understating in such areas as insurance, investment, combating money laundering, energy, commerce and industries, agriculture, water resource management and culture.

On Sunday, the South African president landed in Tehran on a three-day visit, along with a 180-member politico-economic delegation.