News / Africa

Iran FM Presses Nuclear Case in South Africa

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressing media after meeting of foreign ministers, United Nations Headquarters, New York, Sept. 26, 2013.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressing media after meeting of foreign ministers, United Nations Headquarters, New York, Sept. 26, 2013.
Anita Powell
Iran's new foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is visiting the only country in the world to have voluntarily surrendered its nuclear weapons: South Africa.
 
The two nations claim close ties and were quick to reaffirm their peaceful, constructive and lasting relationship during Zarif’s first official Africa visit as foreign minister, during which he and South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane co-chaired the 11th meeting of the Iran-South Africa Joint Cooperation Commission, during which they discussed security, trade and other bilateral issues.
 
Following platitudes about Nelson Mandela and international cooperation, talk turned to Iran's continuing six-nation talks over its disputed nuclear activities, which Zarif said his nation is pursuing exclusively for peaceful purposes such as energy.
 
Many western countries and Israel fear Tehran is using the program to develop a nuclear weapons capability.
 
In Pretoria, Zarif urged countries to follow South Africa's lead and voluntarily relinquish nuclear weapons programs.
 
“I believe South Africa itself presents a great model for the rest of humanity to follow to rid themselves of these weapons which should never have been produced and which should never be again used in the international community," he said. "In our view, development, use and stockpiling of all weapons of mass destruction constitutes a crime that should not be allowed to continue, and certainly Iran for its part will do its best to contribute to the global disarmament effort."
 
Zarif also said Iran's nuclear aims have been misunderstood, lashing out at Iran's arch-enemy Israel, which has vowed it will not stand by and watch Iran develop nuclear weapons.
 
“Unfortunately, those who are raising allegations against Iran have a very dubious track record," he said. "Their violations of the rights of the Palestinian people is a very clear example of what [former U.S.] President Carter called an apartheid. So it is important for all of us to call a spade and to move forward, removing all of these misunderstandings, stopping fear-mongering and hopefully bringing about a greater understanding and tranquility to this important issue at the international level.”
 
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane also urged the West to lift crippling economic sanctions on Iran so South Africa could trade oil with Iran.
 
“South Africa, like all other peace-loving democratic countries that also respect human rights, like Iran, calls for lifting of unilateral sanctions which would be encouraged by these talks that the honorable minister had referred to," she said. "Conditions would be peaceful coexistence, acceptance that all countries, signatories in particular of the [non-proliferation treaty] have the right for peaceful usage of enriched uranium for energy needs, for health, technology usage.”
 
The top Iranian diplomat has also been meeting with other senior South African officials in hopes of expanding political, economic and cultural relations.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mudassar from: Pakistan-Karachi
November 01, 2013 8:45 AM
Conflict resolution leads to prosperity & Tranquillity for all.
In Response

by: Samir S. Halabi from: Geneva, Switzerland
November 04, 2013 4:43 AM
When Iran ceases to threaten 'The Jewish State of Israel' with
annihilation, then and only then should the economic squeeze on Iran be lifted, however I don't see that happening until real change takes place in that country with a moderately formed government.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs