Iran, South Korea to discuss post-sanctions cooperation in Seoul

Officials from Iran and South Korea are to discuss ways of expanding relations between the two countries, especially in the field of energy, after international sanctions against the Islamic Republic are removed.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, the talks which are scheduled to be held in the South Korean capital city of Seoul on Thursday, will also focus on the political situation on the Korean Peninsula and other issues of mutual interest.

Meanwhile, the Korean Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that the bilateral negotiations will be led by the ministry’s Director-General for the Africa and Middle East Affairs Kwon Hee-seog, and his Iranian counterpart, Abdolrassoul Mohajer Hejazi.

“During the policy talks, the two sides will exchange views on issues of mutual interest, including bilateral issues, the Iranian nuclear deal and sanctions on Iran, and the political situations in the Middle East, on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia,” the statement added.

According to Yonhap report, the meeting between the two countries proves South Korea’s determination to secure a foothold in Iran’s huge energy market once the international sanctions imposed on Tehran over its peaceful nuclear program are lifted.

Sanctions against Iran were imposed by the US and European Union at the beginning of 2012, alleging that there was diversion in Iran’s nuclear program toward military objectives; an allegation that Iran categorically rejected.

The Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – reached a mutual understanding on April 2 in the Swiss city of Lausanne, which is considered a prelude to the achievement of a comprehensive deal on Tehran’s nuclear program before a self-designated deadline at the end of June. A key point of Lausanne statement is a promise to lift a series of economic sanctions on Iran – including those on the country’s energy sector.

Yonhap also reported that talks have been underway between Tehran and Seoul to arrange visits to Iran by South Korea’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong, and Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun in the coming weeks.

Last Thursday, a senior South Korean official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Yonhap that his country was bent on improving ties with Iran in various fields, especially energy, once international sanctions against Tehran are removed.

“Because Iran is a country with enormous economic potential after the lifting of sanctions, other countries are also waiting and preparing to make inroads into the Iranian economy,” the unnamed official said, adding, “We too can find the impetus to revive our economy in the large economic potential of Iran.”

By Press TV