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Wednesday, 10 July 2024 22:09

Ramaphosa congratulates Pezeshkian - SA to continue deepening relations with Iran.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated President Masoud Pezeshkian on his election as the new President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The election came after the death of Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in May.

Out of 30.5 million votes counted in Friday's runoff, Pezeshkian won 53.6%, edging out ultraconservative Saeed Jalili, who had 44.3% of the votes, state-run Press TV reported. Voter turnout was 49.8%.

Pezeshkian was elected in a second round of voting after securing the highest number of ballots in the first round, ahead of Jalili. The first round saw the lowest voter turnout for a presidential election since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979. 

"On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, Ramaphosa also congratulates the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on exercising their democratic right during the two rounds of the electoral process, which took place on 28 June and 5 July 2024.

"Ramaphosa wishes Pezeshkian good health, fortitude, strength and success for his tenure as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran," the Presidency said.

Formal diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1994 and remain cordial to date.

"Ramaphosa affirms that South Africa will continue working with the Islamic Republic of Iran to deepen cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels to promote global and regional peace, security, stability, and to achieve economic development for the benefit of both countries.

"He emphasised the need for South Africa and Iran to continue collaborating closely in promoting the agenda of the Global South through shared membership in groupings such as the Non-Aligned Movement, BRICS, the Indian Ocean Rim Association, as well as other formations," the Presidency said.

The 69-year-old trained heart surgeon and lawmaker acknowledged the challenges facing the country as he called for unity.

Speaking from the Iranian capital Tehran on Saturday, Pezeshkian said his victory will "usher in a new chapter" for the country.

"We are ahead of a big trial, a trial of hardships and challenges, simply to provide a prosperous life to our people," he said during brief remarks at the mausoleum of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Pezeshkian also hailed the relatively high turnout in Friday's polls, promising to listen to the voices of the Iranian people and "fulfil all the promises" he made.