Speaking Sunday at a joint meeting of high-ranking delegations from Iran and South Africa in Tehran, attended by visiting President Jacob Zuma, Rouhani pointed to the new atmosphere created after the July 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, saying that Tehran and Pretoria can boost economic relations in the post-sanctions era.
“Although there is intense competition among Asian and European countries today to sign cooperation agreements with Iran after the nuclear deal and the removal of anti-Iran sanctions, we will never forget our close friends during the sanctions era,” Rouhani said at the meeting.
He further described the good records of cooperation between the Islamic Republic and South African companies in various fields as a good foundation for expanding the bilateral relations.
“…There is a possibility for South Africa to become one of the main trade partners of Iran by utilizing the existing capacities and potentials,” the Iranian president stated.
In a ceremony held in Tehran earlier in the day, high-ranking officials from the two countries signed eight memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in a range of fields.
Rouhani and Zuma, who arrived in Tehran earlier in the day for an official visit, attended the ceremony.
The documents signed in the gathering include MoUs on trade and industry, establishment of a joint task force on investment, agriculture, management of water resources, insurance services, exchange of financial information to counter money laundering, cooperation between the Research Institute of Iran’s Petroleum Industry and the Petroleum Oil And Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA), as well as a document on culture and the arts.
Zuma is heading a 180-member politico-economic delegation in his trip to Tehran.
Expansion of relations with African nations in all political, economic and cultural fields is top on the agenda of Iran’s foreign policy.
President Rouhani has repeatedly stressed his administration’s interest in boosting relations with African states.