‘Iran won’t be indifferent to freezing its money by South Korea’

January 11, 2021 - 16:38

TEHRAN – The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnaser Hemmati, in a meeting with South Korean Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Choi Jong Kun, said Iran will not stay indifferent to blocking its money by South Korea.

Hemmati called on the South Korean government to take an independent approach towards the issue of releasing Iran's resources in the country, saying: "Seven billion dollars belonging to the Iranian nation has been blocked in South Korean banks for more than two years, this is unacceptable and Iran definitely will not be indifferent towards this issue.”

Expressing hope for the results of the negotiations between the two countries in this regard, Hemmati said: "South Korean banks have frozen our resources in this country for many years and even our deposits have not received any interest."

"The freezing of our money in South Korea is our main challenge with this country," he stressed.

“We had resources in other countries and we were able to access them despite the U.S. sanctions; but in the case of South Korea, which has been one of Iran's main trading partners, we have not yet been able to access our resources in that country”, he explained.

Referring to a previous visit to Seoul, Hemmati said: "A year and a half ago, I had talks with South Korean officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, about this issue, and they promised assistance and cooperation, which unfortunately were not realized."

Choi Jong-kun arrived in Tehran early on Sunday to hold talks with Iranian officials over a range of issues including Iran’s blocked assets in the Asian country and also the Islamic Republic’s seizure of a South Korean ship in the Strait of Hormuz.

Tehran and Seoul are locked in a bitter dispute over Iran’s blocked assets in South Korea, with the seizure of the South Korean ship being the latest in a series of disagreements between the two Asian countries.

Some seven billion dollars of Iranian oil revenues have been frozen in two South Korean banks since September 2019, when Washington's sanctions waiver for South Korea's imports of Iranian oil expired.

EF/MA

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