“South Africans were inspired by Iran’s 1979 revolution, which showed that emancipation is possible, whatever the odds,” President Jacob Zuma told the Islamic republic.
Zuma stated this at the start of his three-day state visit to Iran on Sunday. Sitting at a press conference with President Hassan Rouhani, President Zuma noted that the overthrow of a US-backed Shah was a source of encouragement as black South Africans fought against apartheid.
He added that various mechanisms had been discussed “to strengthen our political, trade, investment and economic, as well as people-to-people relations between our countries.”
According to Zuma, his three-day visit to Iran could “dramatically expand trade” with the Islamic republic as the republic’s nuclear deal with world powers may climb to the zenith soon, especially now that international sanctions have been unbanned in the country.
Also, South Africa is hoping to exploit a market hungry for investment as tens of billions of dollars worth of Iranian assets will now be unfrozen and global companies that have been barred from doing business there will gain.
“The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran provides immense potential for closer commercial and investment cooperation between South Africa and Iran,” the presidency said in a statement.
Meanwhile, reports said South Africa and Iran also signed eight agreements on cooperation in areas including trade, industries, investments, agriculture, water resources and oil industry research and development. And with the South Africa’s signature on the agreement sheet, it would be an opportunity to deepen commercial links.
“The challenge is to dramatically expand trade volumes,” he added.
Reacting, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, expressed delight at Zuma’s visit. He also seized the opportunity to mourn former President Nelson Mandela who passed away three years ago.
“Let us cherish the memory of the late Nelson Mandela,after whom a street is named in Tehran. He is so very much revered by both the South African and the Iranian people,” Rouhani said.
Meanwhile, BuzzSouthAfrica has gathered that construction of an oil refinery that will process Iranian crude to bolster its petrol supply and reduce its dependence on foreign companies is being considered in Pretoria.
SA Presidents’ Visit To Iran
President Hassan Rouhani has also been in South Africa. On the other hand, Zuma’s visit is the second South African state visit to Iran. The first was undertaken by late President Nelson Mandela in 1999. Mandela visited Tehran before his election and soon after leaving office.