Pretoria - South Africa has suspended almost all of its oil imports from Iran and intends to abide by a US request to significantly drop its supplies from the state, a senior diplomat said on Thursday.
“(To my knowledge), no Iranian oil is flowing into our country,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim
told a news conference.
“If there is any, it is very little.”
South Africa is on a US State Department list of 12 countries that buy Iranian oil and could be subject to US sanctions unless they significantly cut purchases.
Iran is South Africa’s leading crude supplier, accounting for about
29% of oil imports, according to the US
Energy Information Administration.
Earlier, cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said Pretoria had not
decided what to do about the US request. “There’s no decision made one way or the other, but cabinet is
deliberating on Iran,” he told a news conference.
South Africa’s energy minister said last week she hoped to have a
plan by the end of May for replacing supplies from Iran.
Ebrahim said he did not agree with the US move to impose
sanctions on countries that purchase Iranian oil. But he said Pretoria was
forced to abide by it due to the economic hit South Africa would take if it did
“We don’t have any choice in the matter,” he said. As a sovereign
country, South Africa should be able to buy oil from wherever it wants, Ebrahim