Iranian ambassador urges Korea to release frozen funds [INTERVIEW]

Iranian ambassador urges Korea to release frozen funds [INTERVIEW]

Iranian Ambassador to Korea Saeed Badamchi Shabestari speaks during an interview with The Korea Times at the Iranian Embassy in Yongsan District, Seoul, Aug. 17. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

Shabestari says Korean companies miss opportunities in Iranian market

By Kwon Mee-yoo

Relations between South Korea and Iran have long been tied to assets Iran has frozen in South Korea.
Iran’s Ambassador to South Korea Saeed Badamchi Shabestali stepped up diplomatic efforts to revive bilateral ties at a time when the two countries viewed each other as good economic partners.

I think it’s the perfect time to make a fresh start as we welcome the new president, Yoon Seok-yeol, who has been inaugurated as president.For me, South Korea was a friendly and beautiful country with friendly people,” said Shabestali. said in an interview with the Korea Times at the Iranian embassy in Seoul on Wednesday.

Shabestari, an East Asia expert with a diplomatic career of more than 26 years in East Asia or related sectors, said South Korea’s relationship with Iran goes back more than 1,000 years.

“In the Iranian epic Kushnameh, there is a story of a Persian prince who came to the Kingdom of Silla and married a Silla princess. I see it,” he said.

Shavestari’s tenure in South Korea was at a time when relations between South Korea and Iran were strained as South Korea froze $7 billion in Iranian assets in South Korean banks under US sanctions. started in the month.

Seoul has blocked the Central Bank of Iran account of the Industrial Bank of Korea and Woori Bank, which was used to receive payments for Iranian oil. The account was created in Won to circumvent US sanctions against Iran, and Iran used the South Korean account to pay for imports of unlicensed products and other sanctions-exempt humanitarian goods from South Korea.

“Unfortunately, relations between Iran and South Korea were affected by the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from her nuclear deal in 2018,” he said.

“The United States withdrew from negotiations and imposed illegal and inhumane sanctions on Iran, complicit in the sanctions South Korea endangered bilateral relations with Iran.”

Frozen from Tehran Seoul has maintained its position despite repeated calls to release its assets. Only when US sanctions on Iran are lifted will Iran be able to recover funds from South Korean banks. South Korea, although not a member of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), supports the restoration of her 2015 nuclear deal between China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and Iran.

The Ambassador also mentioned missed opportunities for Korean companies in the Iranian market.
“Due to South Korea’s political policies, South Korean companies withdrew from the Iranian market four years before him, and he, one of the Middle East’s largest economies, has suffered losses in the Iranian market,” Shavestali said.

“For example, according to statistics, in Iran he has sold over 8 million Samsung mobile phones. These were re-imported into Iran via third countries. Mobile phones are non-genuine. These business relationships may be conducted directly between Iran and South Korea using Iranian assets in South Korean banks. , as well as talks at the Foreign Minister and Deputy Minister levels.

“I would like to emphasize that Iran has the will to return to the past friendly relations with South Korea. He emphasized improving relations with Iran.Therefore, we will do our best to resolve the pending issues. We do not want a third party to address this issue.”

He said the ongoing negotiations to revive the nuclear deal brokered by a third party had nothing to do with frozen South Korean funds. I added no.

“According to an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, these frozen assets are between Iran and South Korea and are unrelated to other issues discussed by other countries,” he said. In our experience, the US withdrew from the agreement and subsequently imposed sanctions. We never want to be in a situation like this again.

Ambassador said on his next 10th, 23rd marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Iran and South Korea.

“(The date) is important to us and we would like to celebrate the occasion here. By October 23rd, we hope to see progress towards resolution of this issue and concerns on the Korean side. I hope that the new South Korean government will do its best as promised as soon as possible.”

“I think we need to pass on to the next generation the friendly Iran-South Korea bilateral relationship, not the current acrimonious one.”

Credit/Source : KOREATIMES

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