South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will hold talks with Iranian leaders during her trip to Tehran on Sunday.
In a statement released on Wednesday the South African Foreign Ministry said Iran is “an important friend and partner” of Pretoria.
Nkoana-Mashabane will “lead the South African delegation to Co-Chair the Twelfth Meeting of the South Africa-Iran Joint Commission in Tehran, Iran from 10 to 11 May 2015,” said the official statement.
“The twelfth session will afford the two countries the opportunity to engage in deliberations related to geo-political and peace and security developments in their respective regions, to review the status of bilateral relations and to assess the potential for enhanced cooperation,” added the statement.
South Africa hopes to restore energy ties with Iran, its energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said on Sunday, according to Iran’s Shana news agency.
“South Africa’s private sector can invest in various parts of Iran’s oil industry,” she added.
Iran and major powers wrapped up nearly a week of talks in New York on Tuesday, the latest round in 18 months of discussions aimed at clinching a long-term deal by June 30 to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an end to sanctions.
Talks between Iran, the US, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union will resume in Vienna next week.
A Reuters report on Wednesday quoted official sources as confirming that another BRICS member, India will push ahead this week with plans to build a port in southeast Iran, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi keen to develop trade ties with Central Asia and prepared to fend off US pressure not to rush into any deals with Iran.
In consecutive summits of the five leaders, the BRICS group of countries have broadly agreed they are not bound by “unilateral” sanctions on Iran.
“We recognize Iran’s inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a manner consistent with its international obligations,” said a joint BRICS statement at the end of the 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil last year.
China and India are the biggest buyers of Iran’s crude, which they need to help sustain economic growth in two of the world’s fastest-growing major economies.
South Africa “recognizes the important role Iran assumes regionally and internationally within global governance and multilateral architecture, particularly as the incumbent Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)” said the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.