Your Excellency, Mr Mohsen Movahhedi-Ghomi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran to South Africa
Your Excellency, Mr Bene M’Poko, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Your Excellency, Mr Mohammed Ould Hannani, Ambassador of Mauritania and Dean of the Arab Group of Ambassadors
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of South African Government, and its people, it is my singular honour to extend our warmest wishes to the Government and the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran as you celebrate the 41st Anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Any struggle for freedom is a noble one. At a core of our being, we all aspire to pursue happiness, liberty and peace.
We remember and salute the heroes and heroines of the Islamic Revolution.
As we know, no freedom is free. Thus we raise our revolutionary banners to the doyens of freedom who fell in struggle for emancipation.
We say to the departed, it is an honour to pay the ultimate sacrifice in a noble struggle for freedom.
Your Excellency, the history of Iran is one that the Iranian people should take immense pride in.
As one of the oldest civilizations, your country’s contribution to humanity, including: literature, medicine, engineering and science and technology is commendable.
It reminds us that people who know who they are, and what they stand - personifies the true meaning of liberty.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 1995, a year after the fall of the apartheid regime here, our countries signed the Agreement for the Establishment of a Joint Commission of Cooperation.
This established the central bilateral mechanism at Ministerial level, and it remains the driving force in strengthening our relations.
The 14th Meeting of this important structure took place in October 2019, and was co-chaired by Minister Pandor and her counterpart Minister Zarif in Tehran.
This important mechanism has continued to focus on strengthening our relations in areas of common interest such as tourism, finance, banking, trade, investment, science and technology, to name a few.
In 2019, we also witnessed the 9th Session of the Deputy Ministerial Working Group, a political meeting that presented an opportunity for our two countries to exchange notes on global and regional political developments.
It is important to note that our friendship is built on solid foundation of mutual respect and cooperation. Both countries remain committed to advancing world peace and strengthening multi-lateral institutions.
Our respect for international law and solidarity of the oppressed remains unshaken.
Looking ahead, this year will be marked by a number of regular interactions between our two countries, with several technical meetings already being scheduled.
Importantly, another Deputy Ministerial Working Group is expected later in the year.
It is also our sincere hope that we will be able to host President Rouhani during the course of the year, and we look forward to welcoming him to the Republic of South Africa.
We recently witnessed a precarious moment for the Islamic Republic of Iran; when, General Qassem Souleimani – a Commanding Officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was killed by an American drone strike.
The world remained anxious as we digested the sad turn of events, and the potential consequences that may result thereof.
Fortunately, maximum restraint was exercised. Iran has shown maturity as nation and Government. The potentially explosive has instead been de-escalated.
Level heads are required at this current time, and South Africa, trusts Iran to continue with its commitment to and for commendable approach to upholding the multilateral system, and respect for international law.
In equal measure, South Africa will continue to morally and politically support the continued implementation of the Joint Compressive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
A commitment that is more important than before following the declaration of a dispute by the European parties.
Currently, political discussions are being held, and it is hoped that a solution will be found that equally addresses the concerns of all parties to this agreement.
It is our continued belief that the JCPOA stands as a beacon of light for those committed to finding diplomatic solutions to global disagreements.
Your Excellency, 2020 marks another year where we look forward to the continuation of our journey of working together to ignite growth and prosperity despite the unfavourable global economic climate.
It is our collective task to pull together, make sound political and economic choices in the best interest of our diplomatic relations and long cherished friendship.
There can be no doubt, our long cherished friendship will galvanise our formal bilateral relations so that our people can enjoy faster economic growth and achieve shared prosperity.
It is our firm belief that our continued bilateral relations will advance the pursuit of security, stability, economic development.
Thus we will continue to promote dialogue in solving global challenges.
This is only possible within the existing multilateral organisations that must be governed in democratic and fair manner.
We shall continue to advance the course of the democratisation of global institutions such as the United Nations.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In conclusion, on behalf of His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Government and the people of South Africa, we wish to extend to H.E. President Hassan Rouhani, the Government and the people of Iran our warmest wishes on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Finally the Persian proverb says, ‘the greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.’ It is true than in Iran, South Africa indeed has a friend. May our mutual friendship continue not for its own sake but in the service of our respective nations so that we may prosper together!
I thank you.