Alumni Magazine #5_July 2020_single pages web

The University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Africa-China Studies (CACS) hosted an important seminar in February under the theme ’Iran-US Crisis: Implications for Iran-South Africa Relations’, attended by high-powered Iranian representatives including Iranian

He also mentioned key areas of partnership between Iran and South Africa, for example, the Iran market was the second most profitable market for MTN, a South African mobile network company, and South Africa has long benefitted from the expertise of Iran in water management, energy and mining machinery, as well as Iranian gas resources. He stressed the importance of continued interconnectedness between South Africa and Iran, and the need for strong collaboration. Also, in the seminar discussion was Naeem Jeenah, the director of the Afro-Middle East Centre, who

focused on diplomatic obstacles between the two countries. For example, South Africa has not officially imported oil from Iran due to US sanctions for the past six or seven years. He also criticised the use of the terms “anti-imperialism” and “terrorism” by some officials, saying these could be used to “mobilise support” by dictators or autocratic regimes. Overall, the seminar highlighted concern around Iran-US crises, the role of constitutional values in South African foreign policy, and the role of South Africa in the United Nations Security Council in which it sits until later this year.

ambassador to South Africa, Mohsen Movahhedi Ghomi.

South Africa has long been a cornerstone of Iran’s South-South cooperation (collaboration and partnership among countries from the Global South) strategy. The Islamic Republic was one of the first countries to resume trade with South Africa following the end of apartheid, and the two countries have enjoyed strong relations ever since, with trade being an integral element of this relationship. Over 100 people attended the CACS seminar on 17 February, including present and former government officials, representatives of the business community and civil society, and academics and students. Chairing the seminar was Prof Suzy Graham of the Department of Politics and International Relations at UJ, and Ambassador Ghomi was the headline speaker. The ambassador discussed the reasons why the US-Iran crisis has been exacerbated since the beginning of 2020, then provided a summary of Iran-South Africa relations, including their evolution throughout the different regimes and how they reached a stage of maturity after the 1994 democratic dispensation in South Africa.

Iran-South Africa relations explored in high-powered CACS seminar


1. From left to right: Former Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad and Ambassador Ghomi. 2. From left to right: Iranian Embassy Media and Protocol Office, Mr Naeem Jeenah, Ambassador Ghomi, Dr David Monyae, Prof Suzy Graham and Mr Bhaso Ndzendze




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