Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s severance of ties with the racist South African regime after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and said: “The Islamic Republic [of Iran] broke up almost at the same time with the Zionist regime [of Israel] and the Apartheid regime of South Africa.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution highlighted the role of former South African leader Nelson Mandela in overthrowing the racist South African regime as well as the history of his longtime friendly relations with the Islamic Republic, adding: “Due to the persistence of struggles by Mandela and South African people, that oppressive and antihuman regime was unseated and by this achievement, Mandela breathed fresh life into struggles across Africa.” .
Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran holds a positive and constructive view of South Africa, adding: “Relations between Iran and South Africa are very warm and the two countries’ mutual cooperation at global assemblies is very helpful and effective, but economic and trade ties must also be enhanced in proportion to the two countries’ potentialities.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution said interaction between the two countries within the framework of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was another ground for cooperation, adding: “Such cooperation will be in the interests of all non-aligned countries.”
“The interests of independent countries lie in increasing cooperation in different sectors and the obstacles certain powers are throwing up against such cooperation must be countered,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.S
In the meeting, which was also attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Mr Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, offered gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran for its support for the South Africans in their struggle against the Apartheid regime, saying: “The South African people will never forget this support and Mandela’s trip to Iran was a gesture of appreciation for this backing.”
Noting that South Africa has always been opposed to Western sanctions imposed on Iran, Zuma said: “There are abundant and untapped grounds for enhancing cooperation between the two countries and we try to have a fresh start in economic and trade ties.”
Zuma echoed Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks about the necessity of cooperation between independent nations and said: “Certain powers, under unjustified pretexts, are stymieing development of relations between independent nations, but we can resolve many problems through unity and harmony on global issues.”
Mr Zuma said one ground for cooperation would be making efforts to restructure the United Nations and its Security Council, adding: “Regardless of the world’s public opinion and the General Assembly’s decisions, the member states of the [UN] Security Council use the inadequate mechanism of this Council to harm other countries.
The South African president heaped praise on the bright attitude and the resistance of the Leader and the Iranian nation, saying: “The Islamic Republic of Iran has shown that it can resolve its issues by relying on itself in the hostile environment of the world and serve as a prominent example for all [other countries].”