Jan 27, 2016, 9:48 AM
News Code: 81937408
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South Korean president mulling visiting Iran

Seoul, Jan 27, IRNA - President Park Geun-hye is considering visiting Iran, an official said Wednesday, as Iran has emerged as a land of opportunity following the lifting of international sanctions.

Presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk made the comments to reporters, without elaborating on the time frame for the possible visit, Yonhap wrote.

Park, if the trip is made, would be the first South Korean president ever to visit Tehran.

South Korea is seeking to tap into business opportunities in Iran as the United Nations have lifted most economic sanctions against Iran in a follow-up to a nuclear deal reached with the US and five world powers.

Iran boasts the world's fourth-largest known crude oil deposits and ranks No. 1 in terms of natural gas reserves.

South Korea's exports to Iran reached US $4.14 billion in 2014, up 8.3 percent on-year.

South Korea's share in Iran's imports, however, fell 0.5 percentage point over the cited period to 7.9 percent, according to data compiled by the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se said on Tuesday (Jan 26) that the country’s Vice Finance Minister Joo Hyung Hwan is to pay a visit to Iran next month.

During the visit which is taking place with the objective of promoting bilateral relations, he will be leading a ranking delegation to Iran.

The foreign minister stressed that South Korea thinks it has to take more steps towards expanding relations with Tehran.

He said the vice minister will be holding a number of meetings with his Iranian counterparts during the visit.

The foreign minister said that Joo will be accompanied by a big delegation during his visit to Tehran.

The state-run Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) already announced that it plans to sign an agreement with Central Bank of Iran on providing up to about 5 billion euros in financing for South Korean companies doing business there.

The specialist trade financing bank said in a statement it plans to sign the agreement during the current quarter to support contracts that South Korean companies win from Iran in sectors including power generation, construction and steel-making.

The statement was issued while the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of South Korea has already announced that it will lift all bans toward relations with Iran as soon as the 'Implementation Day' starts.

Seoul hopes that lifting anti-Iran sanctions would lead to create newer and more proper opportunities for the South Korean companies to develop trade exchange with the Iranian side.

The IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano released a report on January 16 verifying nuclear program in Iran.

Then, the US and the European Union lifted anti-Iran sanctions and the implementation of the July 14 nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) started as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a joint statement announcing the 'Implementation Day'.

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