S. Korea should prove its independence, repay debts to Iran: Spokesman

Tasnim – The spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry advised South Korea to demonstrate its independence by unfreezing Iran’s financial resources without being influenced by third parties.

Iranian officials in Tehran, in Seoul and in all meetings with the South Korean authorities at all levels have made it clear that South Korea’s refusal to pay debts to Iran runs counter to the traditional and age-old relations between the two countries, Seyed Abbas Mousavi said at a press conference on Monday.

“The excuses they (South Koreans) give for being under the US pressures about repaying Iran’s money are inadmissible,” the spokesman said.

Mousavi also urged South Korea to prove that it is independent and would not come under pressure of third parties.

Iran does not care about South Korea’s relations with other governments, the spokesman added, calling on the East Asian country to settle the oil debts to Iran.

Last week, Mousavi said Tehran may lodge a complaint against South Korea in case Seoul refuses to pay off its oil debts after all diplomatic efforts.

Thereafter, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry called in Iran’s ambassador to Seoul to lodge a protest over the threat to take a legal step against South Korea because of freezing Iran’s assets under Washington’s pressure.

Iran’s assets at two Korean bank accounts — known to be worth up to $7 billion in total — have been frozen since September last year when Washington’s sanctions waiver for South Korea’s imports of Iranian oil expired.

Due to the economic challenges caused by US unilateral sanctions and the fallout of the new coronavirus, Iran has been stepping up calls for South Korea to unlock the frozen assets at the bank accounts but Seoul has refused to do so under the US pressure.