Iran To Press South Korea To Release Blocked Funds
Iran called for South Korea to release billions of dollars frozen funds because of U.S. sanctions on Friday.
“The ban on Iran’s use of its central bank resources to purchase basic goods, medicine and humanitarian products by South Korea is in no way appropriate, and we expect the South Korean government to lift this restriction as soon as possible,” said President Hassan Rouhani in state news agency IRNA remarks.
He instructed the head of the Iranian central bank to follow up the matter through legal channels and international forums, IRNA said.
Iran to press South Korea to release blocked funds, Rouhani had no idea of the exact amount of the frozen funds, but the news agency Borna quoted the head of the Iran-South Korea chamber of commerce, Hossein Tanhayi, as saying between $6.5 billion and $9 billion belonging to Iran was blocked in South Korean banks.
Tanhayi said that “Iran intends to take legal action against this unsuitable situation, but this is not an easy path and it is time-consuming,”
Since May 2019, South Korea’s imports of Iranian oil have been zero , when the United States revoked waivers which had allowed some countries to continue buying Iranian oil without falling foul of sanctions of the United States.
Sanctions was re-imposed on Iran by the United States in 2018 after a deal President Donald Trump withdrew from to lift them in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Tehran calls the U.S. sanctions economic.
“Preliminary steps had been taken to set up a channel to allow Iran to use funds in South Korea to buy humanitarian goods,” said the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in May. After some weeks South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Seoul was sending $500,000 worth of medicine to Iran.
Germany, Britain and France exported medical goods to Iran in the first transaction conducted under a trade mechanism set up to barter humanitarian goods and food without breaching the financial sanctions of the United States, in March.