South African president due in Tehran for economic talks
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 23
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
South African President Jacob Zuma is due to arrive in Tehran on April 23 at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.
Heading a high-ranking 180-member economic and politic delegation, Zuma will meet senior Iranian officials including Rouhani, the oil ministry's official SHANA news agency reported.
Strengthening mutual economic cooperation will be on the agenda of the talks.
Several economic and trade documents will be signed by the two countries' delegations on the sidelines of the presidents' meeting.
Zuma also is scheduled to visit Iran's Isfahan city on April 25.
Earlier in November, President Rouhani in a meeting with South African Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa in Tehran underlined the need for the expansion of Tehran-Pretoria relations.
"Iran has always welcomed broadening of mutual cooperation with South Africa in all areas of mutual interest," Rouhani said.
Pretoria was one of Iran's traditional oil markets before the imposition of sanctions on the Islamic Republic due to its disputed nuclear program. Before sanctions cut down Iran's crude oil exports in June 2012, South Africa was buying on average 68,000 barrels of oil from Tehran per day.
South Africa is considering building an oil refinery that will process Iranian crude to bolster its petrol supply and reduce its dependence on foreign companies.
Plans for the new refinery are still at an early stage, and the estimated cost or time frame for construction have not yet been made public.