South Korea to release part of Iran’s frozen money

July 8, 2020 - 14:28

TEHRAN – South Korea has agreed to unblock part of Iran’s frozen money which is kept by Seoul due to the U.S. sanctions, the chairman of Iran-South Korea joint chamber of commerce has said.

"Based on the agreement with the Korean side the money is not going to be returned in cash but in the form of medical and pharmaceutical items," ILNA quoted Hossein Tanhaei as saying on Tuesday.

“In this regard, the Health Ministry will announce these items in coordination with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI),” he added.

There have been no talks on the return of the money in cash, however, it is possible that after the first part is released, we will gradually move towards the imports of food and livestock feed, he explained.

Asked about the volume of transactions, the official said “It depends on our efforts, and I hope that with the coordination made by the Ministry of Health and the Central Bank we will be able to return a large portion of the money.”

On June 12, Tanhaei announced Iran’s frozen assets in South Korea were between $6.5 billion and $9 billion, Iran Daily reported at the time.

Trade relations between Iran and South Korea have sharply declined under the U.S. pressures.

Back in June, CBI Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati said that Iran will take back its dollars from South Korea through legal and international methods.

The official expressed hope that the South Korean government would abide by its commitments and not block access to those funds under the pretext of the U.S. sanctions.

Earlier, President Hassan Rouhani had reacted to Seoul’s blocking of Iranian assets, saying: “South Korea’s ban on Iran’s use of its central bank resources to buy basic goods, medicine, and humanitarian items is by no means acceptable, and we expect Seoul to lift this restriction as soon as possible.”

Also in May, Iranian Foreign Ministry had said that preliminary steps were taken to set up a channel to allow Iran to use its funds in South Korea to buy humanitarian goods. Weeks later South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Seoul was sending $500,000 worth of medicine to Iran.


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