US waives Iran oil trade sanctions, gives Tehran access to frozen funds to pay off Japanese, Korean exporters

The US State Department has reportedly informed Congress of its decision to waive sanctions on Iran’s oil trade so that Tehran can pay off its debts to Japanese and Korean exporters from its frozen funds, without being able to transfer the funds to the country.

According to a notification sent to Congress by the State Department, the waiver, signed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, allows the “transfer of Iranian funds in restricted accounts to exporters in Japan and the Republic of Korea,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The waiver said that allowing the funds to be used to “repay exporters in these jurisdictions will make those entities whole with respect to the goods and services they exported to Iran [and] address a recurring irritant in important bilateral relationships.”

It would also “decrease Iran’s foreign reserves,” the waiver added, according to the news outlet.

The State Department stressed that the waiver “does not allow for the transfer of any funds to Iran,” and will make whole Japanese and Korean companies that exported non-sanctioned goods and services before US sanctions were tightened by the previous administration.

Blinken signed the sanctions waiver to give Japan and Korea another 90 days to complete transactions with Iran, a State Department spokesperson said.

“The secretary of state previously signed a waiver to allow funds held in restricted Iranian accounts in Japan and Korea to be used to pay back Japanese and Korean companies that exported non-sanctioned items to Iran,” the spokesperson said.

“These repayment transactions can sometimes be time-consuming, and the secretary extended the waivers for another 90 days.”