South Africa's Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor

South African Minister Refuses To call Iran's Regime Authoritarian

Thursday, 03/21/2024

South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, stirred controversy on Tuesday by challenging the characterization of Iran as an authoritarian regime.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Pandor questioned the well-documented nature of the Islamic government in Iran, stating, "I don’t know whether they are an authoritarian regime."

Her remarks come as South Africa faces heightened scrutiny over its relationships with countries like Iran, Russia, and China, as well as its pursuit of a genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee is set to consider legislation on Wednesday aimed at reassessing the US-South Africa relationship in light of these concerns.

Pandor defended South Africa's engagement with various countries, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and diplomacy. She expressed concerns about women's rights in Iran but asserted that cutting off communication with any nation would be counterproductive. "If we stopped talking to everybody because we define them in a particular way, I think the models we have adopted would not have any meaning," she stated.

Regarding the proposed US legislation, Pandor criticized it for potentially undermining sovereign independence and honest policy reflection. She warned against politicizing diplomatic disputes and urged for resolution through governmental channels.

In response to Pandor's comments, Representative Jared Moskowitz expressed his dismay, stating, "If she's defending Iran, I have nothing more to add on that."

More News