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S. Korea, U.S. to discuss extension of Iran sanctions waiver

All Headlines 22:03 March 25, 2019

SEOUL, March 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will have discussions this week on the extension of a sanctions waiver granted to Korea on Iranian oil imports, the foreign ministry said Monday.

To discuss the issue, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; the Ministry of Economy and Finance; and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will meet U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon and other counterparts in Washington on March 28 (U.S. time), the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We have held discussions with the U.S. since November to gain an extended exemption from U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil imports. No extension means no imports of Iranian condensate," a ministry official said over the phone.

As Korean companies heavily rely on Iranian condensate to produce petrochemical products, an end to importing the key raw material will have an impact on the economy, he said.

On Nov. 5 last year, the U.S. granted a six-month waiver to eight countries, including Korea, allowing them to continue to purchase oil from Iran in sharply reduced volumes. The temporary exemption is expected to end on May 3.

In May, Washington declared an exit from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran signed by President Donald Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, and the resumption of tough sanctions in the energy and financial sectors.

The oil embargo began on Nov. 5 with the expiration of a 180-day grace period.


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