TEHRAN (Press TV) - The United States has reportedly agreed in principle to partial release of some $7 billion in Iranian assets that South Korean banks have frozen in line with Washington’s inhumane economic sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.
South Korea’s official KBS World Radio station cited "a senior foreign ministry official” as making the remarks on Thursday.
Iran used to serve as a major oil supplier to South Korea until May 2018, when the United States returned the sanctions. Washington had the bans snap back into place after illegally and unilaterally leaving a historic nuclear agreement between Iran and other countries.
The official said under the agreement, which is yet to be finalized as Washington and Seoul were yet to see eye to eye on the method of transfer, the funds would be transferred to Switzerland first.
Previous reports showed that the two sides had discussed sending the money to the European country, from which it could be sent back to Iran via the so-called Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA).
Switzerland, which also represents the U.S.’s interests in Iran, launched SHTA last February with the stated aim of helping humanitarian items reach Iran despite the sanctions. The mechanism ensures that Swiss-based exporters and trading companies in the food, pharmaceutical, and medical sectors have a secure payment channel with a Swiss bank.
It can, therefore, only provide the Islamic Republic with commodities rather than cash.
This is while Central Bank of Iran Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati has asserted that the Islamic Republic only allowed South Korea to remit its outstanding debt in the form of direct payment. "Only money will come to our bank accounts,” he said on Wednesday.
The official also warned that Tehran reserved the right to take legal action against Seoul over its foot-dragging.
Chief Banker Optimistic Iran Would Accept FATF Demands
Chief banker optimistic Iran would accept FATF demands
Abdolnasser Hemmati has suggested for a first time that a top legislative body in the country would finally pass recommendations required for global money-laundering watchdog FATF to remove Iran from its blacklist.
Hemmati said on that he had got a good impression from members of Iran’s The Expediency Discernment Council in a recent meeting held to discuss FATF conventions.
"There was no negative atmosphere in the Expediency Council as we answered all questions made by the members,” said Hemmati in comments covered by official IRNA news agency.
The Expediency Council is expected to make a final decision on whether Iran should approve the Financial Action Task Force’s Palermo and terrorist financing convention in order to be removed from a blacklist compiled by the Paris-based body and recommended to governments and financial systems around the world.