Tehran-Seoul ties should not be subject to US interventions

MNA – Iran has criticized South Korea for following the United States’ interventions, which have undermined Tehran-Seoul mutual relations.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi, in his weekly presser on Monday, referred to a South Korean medical cargo destined to Iran, saying, “We have held two long years of negotiations on this matter, however, the Koreans listen to the Americans, and they have been waiting to receive a green light from the US.”

He noted that while Iran has had seven billion dollars of assets in South Korea, and they were obliged to return it in cash or goods upon Tehran’s request, “the Koreans have shown negligence and procrastination” under the pretext of US sanctions.

Mousavi noted this while Tehran has repeatedly reminded the East Asian country that Iran is not under any international bans, and the US’ unilateral sanctions cannot be the basis for the actions of other countries, including South Korea.

The spokesman underlined that Tehran is seeking to repatriate all its assets from South Korea to remind Seoul that is should not let a third state hamper their longstanding, friendly relations.

“We are willing to retake all our assets from South Korea; this is a small but positive step, which comes with procrastination, to remind the Koreans that the long-standing ties between the two countries should not be marred by the interventions of a third country.”

South Korea said last week that it would ship $500,000 worth of medicine to Iran used to treat a hereditary disease.

The cargo is the first of such humanitarian exports to Iran since the United States imposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran in 2018.

The move comes as Tehran has faced challenges securing medical items and other supplies for fighting the critical diseases, including COVID-19 pandemic, due to the US economic terrorism.

South Korea is holding the largest sum of Iran’s oil money frozen under US pressure and yet it is reportedly stonewalling attempts to repatriate it at a time when the Islamic Republic badly needs the billions of dollars to put its economy in order and fight a new coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea was the biggest client of Iranian gas condensate with 300,000 barrels per day on top of 100,000 bpd of crude oil, but the country stopped the imports even before US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry went into effect in November 2018.

Last December, Seoul-based Chosun Ilbo newspaper cited officials as saying that Iran’s Foreign Ministry had called in the South Korean ambassador to demand payment of 7 trillion won ($6 billion) for oil it sold to the Asian country.

According to the paper, Tehran expressed “strong regret” over Seoul’s failure to complete the payment, which has been deposited at two South Korean banks without being transferred to Iran’s central bank for years. It added that other Iranian authorities including the central bank also complained.