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International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, has offered her condolences to the government and people of Iran following the passing of Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Amir-Abdollahian died in a helicopter crash alongside Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and several other officials while travelling in the East Azerbaijan province.

Their bodies were recovered in a mountainous region on Monday.

“The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, has expressed her deepest sympathy and condolences to the government and the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran following the shocking and sad news of the passing of her counterpart, Dr Hossein Amir-Abdollahian,” a statement by the department said. 

The Minister also conveyed her sympathies to the colleagues and family of Amir-Abdollahian and wished them comfort and solace. 

According to the department, last year in Pretoria, Pandor co-hosted the 15th Session of the Joint Commission of Cooperation with the late Amir-Abdollahian.

On that occasion, the late Foreign Minister also paid a courtesy call to President Ramaphosa.

“The Ministers also met several times on the margins of multilateral forums, including during the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meetings in 2023. Minister Pandor remembers the late Dr Amir-Abdollahian as a brilliant and astute counterpart whose presence will be deeply missed,” the department added.

Amir-Abdollahian became Foreign Minister under President Raisi with his election in 2021.

Meanwhile, President Ramaphosa has also offered condolences to the Supreme Leader of Iran, The Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, and the government and people of Iran. 

President Ramaphosa said his thoughts are with the families of the late President and Foreign Minister as well as the relatives of the personnel and aircrew who perished.

President Ramaphosa, who as Deputy President paid a working visit to Iran in November 2015, said: “This is an extraordinary, unthinkable tragedy that has claimed a remarkable leader of a nation with whom South Africa enjoys strong bilateral relations and with whom we were honoured to welcome to the BRICS fold in Johannesburg in 2023.

“Our hearts go out to the affected families and the administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We join Iran in this moment of mourning.” –


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