The South African government will continue to encourage and support Iran as it works towards a comprehensive agreement in its nuclear talks‚ which will hopefully lead to sanctions being lifted without delay‚ International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said.

June 30 has been set as the deadline for Iran to reach a final nuclear deal with world powers. A tentative framework deal was reached between the country‚ the US‚ Britain‚ France‚ Germany‚ Russia and China on April 2.

Nkoana-Mashabane said that during the recent 12th Iran-South Africa Joint Commission‚ South Africa had reiterated its position that Iran has an inalienable right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes‚ in line with the provisions of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Noting that SA had the rare distinction of having acquired nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantling them‚ she added that like Iran‚ South Africa firmly believes that the Middle East should be made a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone‚ “as we have done in Africa with the Pelindaba Treaty”.

“In this regard‚ the South African government will continue to encourage and support Iran as it works towards a comprehensive agreement in the nuclear talks. We hope that the final outcome will be fair and just to the people of Iran‚ and that the sanctions will be lifted without delay‚” Nkoana-Mashabane stated.

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