Iran FM seeks ‘quick access’ to frozen assets in South Korea

October 1, 2021 - 21:46

TEHRAN - Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday asked South Korea provide the Islamic Republic with “quick access” to Tehran’s funds that Seoul has been withholding under the banner of abiding by U.S. sanctions.

Hossein Amir Abdollahian made the remarks during a telephone conversation on Thursday with his Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong.

Amir-Abdollahian expressed “strong criticism” of the continued freezing of the Iranian funds at South Korea’s banks, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

“The Iranian people are seriously displeased with the situation” that has been brought about as a result of cessation of trade activities between the countries, Amir-Abdollahian told the Korean official.

The foreign ministers of Iran and South Korea also discussed efforts to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the JCPOA, the Korean Foreign Ministry said.

The talks came as Seoul seeks to maintain close relations with the administration of new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, which was launched last month, Yonhap reported.

In response to Abdollahian's request for South Korea to redouble efforts to address the issue of Tehran's frozen funds, Chung said that Seoul has made best possible efforts, including using part of the money to pay off Iran's UN dues and engage in humanitarian trade.

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Abdollahian told the Korean side that the Islamic Republic wants to use the funds to import medicine and other essential good.

"Minister Chung stressed ... such efforts will continue going forward," the Korean ministry said in a press release.

Chung also pledged that South Korea will actively explore ways to cooperate with Iran to help the country overcome the ongoing humanitarian crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the South Korean minister expressed support for the negotiations over the restoration of the JCPOA.

Chung and Abdollahian shared the need for the two countries to work together to deepen bilateral cooperation, particularly as they mark the 60th anniversary next year of the establishment of their relations.

Meanwhile, Chung expressed concern about a decision by the Islamic Republic to ban import of home appliances from South Korea.

In a decree on Thursday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned the import of home appliances from South Korea. The order by the Leader came after local producers sought Leader’s help in this regard.

Bowing to illegal pressure by the United States, South Korea has not only been withholding about 8.5 billion dollars of Iranian oil revenues, it two famous in producing home appliances - LG and Samsung - also left the Iranian market.

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