Cosatu blasts govt Iran climbdown

2012-03-24 14:44
Johannesburg - South Africa should stop bowing down to United States imperialism and partaking in blackmail sanctions against Iranian oil exports, the Congress of SA Trade Unions said on Saturday.

"Cosatu demands that the South African government stop this kowtowing to the US imperialists and adopt only policies that are in the best interests of this country and the developing world," said union spokesperson Patrick Craven.

Craven said the sanctions were "justified by unproven allegations by the US and some European states that oil revenues could be used to develop nuclear weapons."

Iran insists its uranium enrichment process is for purely civilian purposes. The sanctions take effect on June 28 and countries that do not comply will have their access to the US banking system cut off.

On Thursday Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim botched an announcement that South Africa was reducing oil imports from Iran in compliance with US-led sanctions.

While South Africa imports at least 25% of its crude oil requirements from Iran, Mr Ebrahim announced that the supplies were insignificant. "(To my knowledge), no Iranian oil is flowing into our country. If there is any, it is very little," the Business Day reported him as saying.

Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela later confirmed that SA imports more than a quarter of its crude oil from Iran.

Craven said Cosatu was concerned that South Africa's department of energy was talking to the US and other oil suppliers to “investigate options” on its Iranian crude oil imports and on how to respond to the sanctions and not disrupt supplies to the country.

This week Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announced that she would probe allegations that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's partner was part of an attempt to solicit a bribe for a United Nation weapon's sanctions busting deal in favour of Iran.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  ebrahim ebrahim  |  patrick craven  |  iran  |  iran nuclear programme
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