Report: S. Africa Seeking Improved Trade With Iran

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Written by Dana Sanchez

South Africa wants to examine the feasibility of expanding economic and trade relations with Iran under the new Iranian government, according to a BusinessDay report in iAfrica.com.

“We will never forget the support extended by the Iranian nation and government for the South African people’s campaign against the apartheid regime,” South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said Sunday in Tehran. She was there to attend the swearing-in of Hassan Rohani as president.

South Africa stopped importing Iranian oil in June to avoid U.S. sanctions and to comply with European Union sanctions, the report said.

Rekindled ties could mean the resumption of oil purchases from Iran, among other things.

In June, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. had granted 180-day exemptions from sanctions to South Africa, China, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan for significantly reducing or completely ending imports of Iranian oil. It was the third exemption for South Africa, reports said.

“The two countries should increase the level of their co-operation in economic and trade fields,” Nkoana-Mashabane told outgoing foreign minister Akbar Salehi.

In 2012, President Jacob Zuma said, given the right conditions, South Africa was willing to increase relations with Iran.