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S. Korea, Iran hold working group talks on frozen funds

All News 11:32 February 16, 2022

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Iran have held working-level consultations to discuss ways to resolve yearslong disputes over Tehran's assets frozen here under U.S. sanctions, Seoul's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Iranian bankers and officials from the state-run oil company and the petroleum ministry are in the nation to meet with South Korean government and company officials to talk about pending economic issues as multilateral talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal enter the final stretch.

Bilateral relations remain frayed over US$7 billion in Iranian funds locked in two Korean banks under U.S. sanctions, which were reimposed after former President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew from the landmark deal.

During the two-day meetings from Tuesday, the two sides discussed detailed payment options and the possibility of resuming oil trade in preparation for potential U.S. sanctions relief on Iran.

The country, which sits on the world's fourth-largest oil reserves, had been a key oil supplier to South Korea, importing its goods such as industrial equipment, household appliances and vehicle parts.

South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (2nd from L) meets with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Bagheri Kani, in Vienna on Jan. 6, 2021, to discuss the issue of Tehran's frozen assets under U.S. sanctions, in this photo provided by Seoul's foreign ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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