President Cyril Ramaphosa has noted "with deep concern" the United States of America's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, calling it a step back.
US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that his country would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5 +1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The P5 + 1 was made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council which are China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany.
Ramaphosa said: "As a matter of principle, and deeply rooted in its foreign policy, South Africa supports multilateral diplomacy and the peaceful resolution of conflict."
"The JCPOA is a significant achievement in this regard. It provides a framework of confidence under which the Islamic Republic of Iran can pursue the development of its nuclear capabilities for civilian purposes."
He said the agreement was established in the interest of regional and international peace and security.
"It is important that the progress made over many years of negotiation should not be lost," Ramaphosa said.
"Since its adoption, the JCPOA has contributed significantly to the reduction of tensions over Iran's nuclear programme and still has an important role to play in promoting peace, stability and the normalisation of relations."
Ramaphosa said the South African government urged the other parties of the JCPOA to continue to honour their commitments under the agreement.
He added that, despite the US government withdrawing from the agreement, it should not prevent the remaining parties from honouring their commitments to the agreement.
"In this regard, the decision of the United States should not prevent the remaining parties from honouring their commitments, nor should it impact negatively on the relevant structures and mechanisms created by the JCPOA," he said.