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EghtesadOnline: South African’s ambassador to Iran has said his country is negotiating with the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department to get a license for South African banks to work with their Iranian peers.

William Max Whitehead added in a recent interview with Iran’s state TV’s Channel 5 that the five major banks of the African nation have ties with other countries and are, therefore, susceptible to US extraterritorial sanctions. 

“After JCOPA (the initials of the formal name of Iran’s nuclear deal—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and the lifting of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran, the level of ties between the two countries has been enhanced but banking problems is a major obstacle for bilateral transactions,” Whitehead was quoted as saying by ISNA. 

The ambassador expressed dissatisfaction about the current level of trade between the two countries and said the figure should rise, according to Financial Tribune. 

“During the South African president’s visit to Tehran, the two countries agreed to promote bilateral trade to more than $2 billion by 2020 and this by excluding the oil sector,” he said.  

South African President Jacob Zuma arrived in Iran in April 2016 to strengthen political, trade and investment ties with the Islamic Republic. 

Zuma’s visit was the second South African state visit to Iran, the first having been undertaken by late president, Nelson Mandela, in 1999.


OFAC US Treasury Department Iran South Africa OFAC license