SA commits to support Iran

Friday, March 8, 2019

South Africa is committed to support the Republic of Iran, says International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule.

“Despite all the constraints we remain committed to continue to support the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is my firm belief that today’s meeting will add further momentum to our bilateral relations, such that South Africa and Iran will weather the storm together,” said the Deputy Minister on Friday.

The Deputy Minister made these comments at the start of the ninth Deputy Ministerial Working Group Meeting (DMWG) between South Africa and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

At the meeting in Cape Town, Mhaule welcomed the opportunity to engage with Iran’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Abbas Araghchi, saying the meeting is opportune as it will better bilateral relations between South Africa and the Western Asian country.

The Deputy Minister said much has happened in both countries since the seventh session held in 2017.

“I know this visit is being undertaken during a challenging time for your country and we are grateful that the Islamic Republic of Iran values its relationship with South Africa. Difficult times, however, bring friends together and I am delighted to have witnessed the increased interactions between the Governments of Iran and South Africa during the last year.”

Mhaule said it was regrettable that the US had withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Your visit to South Africa takes place in trying circumstances for your country and I would like to emphasise that we, as South Africa, regard the decision of the United States to withdraw as regrettable,” she said.

In 2015, Iran and six other powers including the US and the UN Security Council agreed on the JCPOA, which speaks of the removal of sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme. The US in May 2018 announced its withdrawal from the deal.

“South Africa has always believed in diplomacy and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, as a matter of principle, and we consider the JCPOA as a significant achievement in this regard. We believe that it provides the necessary framework and confidence-building measures, under which your country is able to pursue its nuclear activities for peaceful purposes; a fundamental principle of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

The JCPOA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231, which provides a binding legal framework to the agreement.

“We are heartened by Iran’s decision and those of the remaining parties to the JCPOA, to continue to uphold the commitments of this agreement.

"We believe that your country has adhered to its prescripts as reinforced by the various IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] Reports that had been presented to the Board of Governors and General Conference.” -