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South Africa is ready to resume Iran oil imports 'tomorrow'

Iran was once the biggest oil supplier to the country importing some 380,000 barrels per day.

FILE: Iranian worker at the South Pars gas field development phases (5-8) in the southern Iranian port town of Asaluyeh. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - South Africa would resume oil imports from Iran "tomorrow" if sanctions were lifted as agreed in July, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Iran was once the biggest oil supplier to South Africa, which boasts the continent's most industrialised economy and was its second-biggest consumer of crude oil, importing some 380,000 barrels per day.

"We are definitely negotiating and looking at when to fully resume oil imports from Iran. For South Africa if there's a process of doing that lawfully, tomorrow we will do it, if there are no obstacles to that," Deputy Foreign Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo told reporters via videolink from Capetown.

"It depends on how quick those negotiations are ... so that we can sign on the dotted line."

On 14 July, six world powers agreed to lift sanctions in return for Iran accepting long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that the West suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

Tehran has always denied seeking nuclear arms.

A day later, South Africa's government said it had never agreed with sanctions against Iran and that its oil refiners had suffered from a ban on crude exports from there.