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Ramaphosa appeals to Rouhani for peaceful resolution to Iran, US tensions

President Cyril Ramaphosa called Iran President Hassan Rouhani from Kimberley where the ANC president is leading the party's 108th anniversary celebrations.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Pictures: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa has appealed to Iran President Hassan Rouhani for a peaceful resolution of tensions with the United States (US).

Ramaphosa called Rouhani from Kimberley where the African National Congress (ANC) president is leading the party's 108th anniversary celebrations.

He conveyed his condolences for the assassination of the Iranian military commander, Qasem Soleimani, expressing concern at the military action taken by Washington.

This added further strain to the already fragile diplomatic relations between the US and Tehran and sparked fears of violent retaliation.

President Ramaphosa said he called President Rouhani because of South Africa's principled view that conflicts should be resolved through political dialogue rather than the use of force.

He expressed South Africa's sadness at the loss of life, including of Iranians, which followed the killing of Soleimani, who was widely considered the second most powerful man in the country after supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

The assassination caused a furore in Iran, while the US braced itself to retaliate against any violence meted on its people or assets.

Ramaphosa called on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and conduct themselves within the rule of international law.

He said he expected the international community to make every effort to secure a peaceful and just outcome which would advance global peace.