Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic attaches great significance to its relations with African countries, including South Africa.
“South Africa is one of the important countries in the African continent, one of the key players of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and an active and influential country on the international stage,” Zarif said in the South African capital of Pretoria on Wednesday night, adding that, “Tehran attaches great importance to its relations with Pretoria.”
He said that Iran welcomed the further enhancement of the ties with the African country, expressing hope that both countries’ private and state sectors would help boost mutual economic, trade and technical ties.
Zarif also expressed optimism that the 11th meeting of the Iran-South Africa Joint Cooperation Commission would result in closer relations between the two countries, especially closer industrial and trade cooperation between the private sectors of both sides.
Zarif is slated to take part in the commission’s meeting as the head of the Iranian delegation.
The meeting, due to begin on October 30 after a four-year hiatus, will be co-chaired by Zarif and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane.
The top Iranian diplomat will also sit down with senior South African officials, including President Jacob Zuma.
The expansion of relations with African countries in all political, economic and cultural fields is a central plank of Iran’s foreign policy.