Tehran, Seoul hold talks on Iranian frozen assets and S. Korean tanker case

January 11, 2021 - 17:28

TEHRAN – In a meeting in Tehran on Sunday evening diplomatic delegations from Iran and South Korea discussed the disputes about the Iranian assets frozen in South Korean banks and Iran’s seizure of a Korean oil tanker for polluting Persian Gulf waters.

The meeting was chaired by Choi Jong Kun, Korea’s first vice minister of foreign affairs, and Abbas Araqchi, the Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs.

Choi is leading a South Korean delegation comprised of political and financial officials.

South Korea’s senior diplomat described his visit to Tehran as a sign of the importance his country attaches to the expansion of relations with Iran, stressing that Seoul is resolved to rebuild trust in bilateral ties in the new Christian year by addressing the problems in the relations with Tehran, Tasnim reported.

Araghchi pointed to the Iranian financial assets frozen in South Korea, saying Korean banks have illegally blocked Iran’s currency resources for nearly two years and a half by citing a fear of U.S. sanctions.

“This action (by South Korea), which is only surrender to ransom demand from the U.S., is not acceptable, and naturally the expansion of relations (between Tehran and Seoul) would be meaningful only when this problem is solved,” the Iranian deputy minister noted.

Pointing to the failure of negotiations that Iran, particularly the country's Central Bank, has held with the South Korean officials about the frozen money, Araghchi said Iran believes that the freezing of its financial assets in South Korea is a result of the Seoul government’s lack of political will rather than the cruel sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

He further called on South Korea to make serious efforts to find the necessary mechanism for resolving the issue as a top priority in relations with Iran.

In response, Choi underlined that allowing Iran access to its assets in South Korea is one of the South Korean government’s main priorities, saying Seoul is determined to pursue the case until the problem is finally settled.

Araghchi advises South Korea to avoid politicizing vessel seizure

In reaction to a call from Vice Minister Choi for resolving the issue surrounding the seizure of the South Korean oil tanker, Araghchi said the vessel has been captured in the Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf because of environmental pollution, adding that the Iranian Judiciary has started studying the case.

Araghchi advised South Korea to avoid politicizing the seizure and stay away from futile propaganda, and to allow the case to be addressed through legal procedures by the Judiciary in a calm manner.

AJ/PA

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