Press TV – South Korean officials say authorities have received a special permit from the United States to resume humanitarian trade with Iran amid claims of support for the Islamic Republic in its fight against the new coronavirus pandemic.
South Korea’s official Yonhap news agency cited a Foreign Ministry official as saying on Friday that humanitarian trade with Iran was likely to begin next month after companies have submitted documents showing they would comply with the US regulations.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US government’s General License No. 8 would allow the trade of drugs and medical equipment and other humanitarian items with Iran even if it involves the country’s central bank, an entity which Washington has blacklisted.
“On April 6, the humanitarian export process based on the General License No. 8 got under way,” the official told reporters, adding that companies that will engage in trade with Iran should undertake “enhanced due diligence” by submitting special documents to the government.
The announcement comes as Iran has on several occasions censured South Korea’s adherence to the US sanctions when it comes to the exports of humanitarian items.
Those criticisms intensified in October, long before Iran was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and when South Korean banks refused to process transactions related to exports of medicines and medical equipment.
Iranian officials had warned that they would ban all imports from South Korea if the East Asian country does not find a way around the sanctions.
The South Korean foreign ministry official told Yonhap that Seoul is also exhausting other channels, including a mechanism set up by Switzerland, to resume humanitarian trade with Iran.
Iran announced on Friday that nearly 70,000 people had been tested positive for COVOD-19 since the disease was spotted in the country nearly two months ago. More than 35,000 people have recovered from the illness while nearly 4,250 patients have died.