WINDHOEK – Namibia is unfazed by America’s re-imposition of sanctions against Iran, and would continue to trade and engage with Iran according to the bilateral cooperation that the two countries agreed to in April this year. Minister of International Relations, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, in an interview with New Era yesterday, also said Namibia would only abide to United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution of 2015, which provides for the termination of the provisions of previous Security Council resolutions on the Iranian nuclear issue and establishes specific restrictions that apply to all States without exception.
Namibia and Iran strengthened their bilateral cooperation in April this year. As part of the bilateral cooperation, Iran and Namibia are engaging in multiple areas of cooperation in energy, water, agriculture, agro-business, food, construction and a whole range of other industries. These include a proposed tractor assembly plant in Namibia, Namibia exporting beef to Iran.
Iran has reopened its embassy in Namibia with a resident ambassador.
American president Donald Trump has warned that countries doing business with Iran will “not be doing business with the United States” as his administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran Tuesday. In an early morning tweet, Trump described the measures as “the most biting sanctions ever” and warned they would “ratchet up to yet another level” in November, when US sanctions on Iranian oil will be re-imposed. “I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” Trump tweeted. Asked whether Namibia is not worried that US sanctions on Iran would, indirectly, hamper these bilateral agreements and the implementation of the cooperation with Iran, Nandi-Ndaitwah said Trump’s renewed sanctions will not affect any bilateral relations between the two nations.
“Imposing sanctions… we know that we are living in a global village. Things are just like a web of activities when it comes to trade and other things. So, anything taken by individual member states which has not gone through the process of analysation among member states might not be very much helpful,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the country’s Deputy Prime Minister.
“It is really unfortunate that when the UN has its position and you have a member of the UN with a different position that really complicate the whole multilateralism which we feel is very critical if we have to maintain international peace and stability,” she said in an interview with New Era yesterday.
The minister re-emphasised that multilateralism organisations, such as the UN, are there to ensure there is international peace and stability. Nandi-Ndaitwah noted that when decisions are taken, they come through a process of consultations, negotiations and debate and a common ground is found by the UN member states where resolutions are then based on.
“It will be in the interest of international peace if member states can really value the activities of multilateralism as opposed to countries acting individually. So that is really the situation,” she said. The volume of trade between Iran and African countries surged by 23 percent in 2017 and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ambassador to Namibia, Vahid Karimi, wants Namibia to be in on the action.
For this reason, an Iranian business delegation, led by Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif, in conjunction with the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hosted an Iran-Namibia Economic Forum at a local hotel in April.
The forum, which was attended by hundreds of local businesspeople, aimed to create viable business partnerships between Iranian and Namibian companies.
The European Union (EU) has said that European firms that stop doing business with Iran because of re-imposed U.S. sanctions could in turn be sanctioned by the EU, a special adviser to the 28-country bloc’s top diplomat has warned. “If E.U. companies abide by U.S. secondary sanctions they will, in turn, be sanctioned by the E.U.,” Nathalie Tocci, an aide to E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, told Britain’s BBC Radio 4 on Monday night.