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. Iranian foreign minister meets South Africa's Mbeki
CAPE TOWN , March 20 (AFP) Mar 20, 2007
Iran's foreign minister met South African President Thabo Mbeki in Cape Town Tuesday ahead of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) talks on extended nuclear sanctions against Tehran.

Manouchehr Mottaki and Mbeki met for about an hour early Tuesday afternoon, but the outcome of their discussions would not be made known, the president's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga told AFP.

Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the discussions were part of ongoing consultations between Iran and South Africa as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors.

"This is a continuation of ongoing and regular discussions about the current nuclear developments around Iran," Mamoepa said.

The meeting came on the eve of a gathering of the UNSC, chaired by South Africa, to discuss additional sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities.

Germany as well as the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, the council's five permanent members, want sanctions to be toughened.

But South Africa has said it would propose a 90-day freeze on Iran's uranium enrichment in exchange for a simultaneous suspension of UN sanctions.

The council in December imposed limited sanctions on Iran over its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment.

The new sanctions draft bans Tehran from exporting arms, calls for voluntary trade sanctions and expands a list of officials and companies targeted for financial and travel restrictions.

The West fears Iran aims to produce nuclear weapons with the enriched uranium, but Tehran insists the fuel is for peaceful energy purposes only.

South Africa, which dismantled its nuclear weapons program during its 1990s transition to democracy, has consistently defended Iran's right to enrich uranium for peaceful use.

Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani visited South Africa in February to discuss the issue with Mbeki.

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