Iran FM urges ‘immediate’ release of frozen assets in S.Korea

TEHRAN, Oct. 22, 2019 (Xinhua) — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends the international conference on “Unilateralism and International Law” in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 21, 2019. Zarif said on Monday that the United States has created tension in the Middle East region, official IRNA news agency reported. (Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua/IANS)

Tehran, Jan 12 (IANS) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged the “immediate” release of Tehran’s frozen assets in South Korean banks, state media reported.

“The biggest obstacle to the development of Iran-South Korea relations under the current circumstances is restrictions on Iran’s foreign assets by the South Korean banks,” Xinhua news agency quoted Zarif as saying in a meeting with visiting South KoreanFirst Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong Kun on Monday.

“Given the health and economic consequences of novel coronavirus, the main priority is to provide access to Iran’s financial resources in South Korea,” he said, calling for the necessary measures by Seoul to remove the obstacles “as quickly as possible”.

“The illegal action of South Korean banks has negatively affected the Iranians’ view of South Korea and has seriously damaged the image of the country among the Iranians,” he said.

For his part, Choi said that his government will do its utmost to provide Iran with access to its monetary resources.

Zarif also denied that the recent seizure of a South Korean oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz has anything to do with the freeze of Iran’s assets.

“The vessel has been seized for polluting the waters of the Gulf, so it is merely a technical issue that are being pursued within the framework of legal and judicial regulations of the Islamic republic,” he stressed.

Zarif’s remarks came a day after Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi also made the same demand during his meeting with Choi, saying that “for about two and a half years, South Korean banks have illegally frozen Iran’s foreign exchange assets, citing fear of US sanctions”.

 

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