Iran’s new bid to S.Korea to ease tensions on EU oil embargo

Just a few days before a full European Union oil embargo on Iran over its nuclear program comes into force, the country has offered some ways to South Korea, the first major Asian importer of Iranian oil, to ease the tensions in its relationship with the country. 

Just days after the last round of negotiations in Moscow between Iran and the five Security Council members and Germany (G5+1), European Union announced that due to lack of progress on nuclear talks with Iran, oil embargo against this country will be enforced as planned on July 1.

The EU sanctions, formally adopted in late January, bar members of the bloc from buying Iranian petrochemical products and crude oil, and from insuring vessels that carry those products.

As a result, one day after the EU’s announcement, South Korea said that it will halt oil imports from Iran starting next month due to a European Union ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil.

In response, the Iranian ambassador to South Korea, Ahmad Masumifar threatened that if Seoul halts imports of Iranian crude oil in compliance with an EU oil ban, Iran may take countermeasures. Simply put, Iran may halt all South Korean imports of goods.

But, on the other hand, to ease the tensions in its relationship with S. Korea, the first major Asian importer of Iranian oil, and to circumvent the EU oil embargo, Iran offered to supply oil to South Korea on its own tankers as the European Union moves to stop shippers from getting insurance for cargoes from the Persian Gulf nation, Bloomberg quoted a government official in Seoul as saying.