Iran to negotiate bartering frozen assets in S. Korea for COVID vaccine

January 3, 2021 - 15:13

TEHRAN - Hossein Tanhaei, head of the Iran-South Korea Joint Chamber of Commerce, has said the Islamic Republic is going to negotiate to barter its frozen oil money in South Korean banks for the COVID-19 vaccine and other goods.

“Yesterday, we had a meeting with First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri about our country's blocked money in South Korea, and suggestions were made to be presented to South Korea on how to barter our money in this country with a variety of goods including COVID-19 vaccine,” Tanhaei told ILNA on Sunday.

The head of the Iran-South Korea Chamber of Commerce referred to an upcoming meeting between the representatives of the two countries on the matter and said: “In yesterday’s meeting, we determined the type of commodities that can be bartered, and now we should wait and see that how much the Koreans are willing to cooperate for bartering the commodities specified in our list.”

According to the official, raw materials, medicine, petrochemicals, auto parts, home appliances, and related parts are among the prioritized items on the list for bartering.

He put the amount of the money blocked in South Korea at about $8 billion to $8.5 billion, saying: "We will consider a sum for the import of each commodity, however, the imports ultimately depend on how much the Koreans are going to cooperate in this regard."

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.”

Over the past two years, economic relations between Tehran and Seoul have fallen sharply under the increased U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Before re-imposing U.S. sanctions in 2018, South Korea had $4 billion in annual exports to Iran and $8 billion in Iran imports.

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