Ex-diplomat suggests Iran should force South Korea to unfreeze assets

August 1, 2020 - 14:18

TEHRAN - Fereydoun Entezari, a former Iranian ambassador to South Korea, has suggested that Tehran should take certain actions to force Seoul to release its money frozen illegally in South Korea.

In an interview with ISNA published on Saturday, Entezari said that the Iranian government should not show leniency towards South Korea’s action.

“The money which has been blocked in South Korea belongs to the people of Iran. Currently, the people and the country need money so much. So, we can apply powerful and controlled diplomacy in this respect to make this issue a public demand and make the South Koreans fulfill it,” he said.

The former ambassador added that direct talks will yield a better result.

Entezari also suggested, “We can pursue the issue through international diplomacy including filing complaint in international bodies.”

“If the mentioned strategies yield no result, Iran can use its power in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf to deal with South Korea and make the country fulfill the Iranian people’s (legitimate) demand,” the former diplomat proposed.

Iran is escalating pressure on the East Asian country to release about $7 billion of oil-export revenues, saying Seoul is buckling to pressure from its U.S. ally and illegally withholding funds needed to counter the coronavirus outbreak.

Iran is the hardest hit country by the coronavirus in West Asia. 

In late June, central bank governor Abdolnasser Hemmati said Iran will take back its dollars from South Korea through legal and international methods.

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

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Tuesday that South Korea should revise illegal procedures and release Iran’s frozen money.

He noted that South Korea is expected to revise illegal procedures and facilitate importing humanitarian commodities to Iran when the country is fighting the coronavirus.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Wednesday that Iran is waiting for South Korea’s “tangible” and “remarkable” actions.

“We have had enough of South Korea’s promises. So, we are just waiting for tangible and remarkable actions. Naturally, no one in Iran is waiting for a cargo of half a million or two million dollars,” he told IRNA.

He added, “We hope the Korean officials remember the volume of the Iranian people’s money in this country and also non-existence of legal impediment to do business with Iran.”

Yonhap reported that South Korea was set to hold virtual talks with Iran later Wednesday about expanding humanitarian trade like medicine exports, following the first such shipment to Tehran in May upon receiving a sanctions exemption from the U.S.

Mousavi said on Thursday that no country is entitled to ignore Iran’s rights in favor of a third country.

“We informed them that the U.S. sanctions were unfounded and unilateral and no country must succumb to the U.S. sanctions,” Mousavi said, according to Mehr.

“No country is entitled to ignore Iran’s rights for a third country,” he added.


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