Feb 27, 2021, 11:26 AM
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Release of Iran's assets from South Korea at final stage

Tehran, Feb 27, IRNA – Release of Iran's assets from South Korea is at final stage, according to Central Bank of Iran, saying that Seoul Government got green-light from Biden Administration for stage-by-stage release.

South Korea froze seven billion dollars Iranian assets with the Seoul banks following the US sanctions on Iran reimposed since 2018 after former president Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

South Korean Foreign Ministry announced that it has reached an agreement with Washington to release part of the funds.

Officials from South Korean FM and Central Bank of Iran announced an agreement on the amount of money and its transfer mechanism after US Treasury's approval.

Upon agreement, the release starts with $1b according to CBI Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati, part of which would be paid to the United Nations to settle $16m arrears of Iran's membership fee.

Moreover, Iran and South Korea have agreed on transfer of even more funds through the channel provided by the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), established in February 2020 after an okay from Trump administration.

CBI Governor also said that Iran has started talks with other countries including Oman, Japan and Iraq to release frozen assets.

Hammati had a meeting with South Korean Ambassador to Tehran last week convened at the request of South Korean embassy. In the meeting, an agreement on transfer of Iran’s assets to specified destinations as per the CBI’s decision on amount and the banks for delivery.

South Korean Foreign Ministry said the day after this meeting that Iran's blocked assets would be released after consultation with the US.

In the meantime, US State Secretary Spokesman Ned Price confirmed the talks between Iran and South Korea, but said the funds had yet to be transferred.

The release of funds blocked in South Korea bespeaks a new round of Iran's diplomacy in the international arena. Historically, Tehran and Seoul have had friendly ties. In recent years, however, they were in challenge due to US sanctions and Washington's pressure on Seoul.

It is hoped that the recent developments would serve to normalize ties between Iran and South Korea.

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