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News ID: 89111
Publish Date : 12 April 2021 - 21:33
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TEHRAN (Dispatches) – Top Iranian officials told visiting South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun here Monday that Seoul must take practical and immediate measures to release Tehran’s frozen assets.
Parliament speaker Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf said South Korea has failed to meet the expectations of the Iranian nation, and even the traders who maintained good business ties with Seoul.
"Unfortunately, South Korea has lost its position in Iran’s foreign trade and the two countries’ economic and political relations, which once stood at the highest level, have declined,” Qalibaf said.
The speaker strongly criticized South Korean banks’ refusal to let Iran access its own assets.
Several billions of dollars of Iranian revenues mostly from oil and gas exports are held abroad because of U.S. sanctions.  
About $2.7 billion belonging to Iran’s Bank Mellat is held by the Bank of Korea, while more than $7 billion worth of Iranian oil money is stuck at the Industrial Bank of Korea and Woori Bank, according to Yonhap news agency. South Korea’s refusal to free them has turned into a diplomatic spat.
Qalibaf said he hoped Chung’s visit to Iran would usher in a new era of enhanced bilateral cooperation in political, economic and cultural sectors on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The South Korean prime minister lauded good historical relations between Tehran and Seoul, regretting that mutual ties have strained since 2018, but pledged to make efforts to improve them.
He said a number of South Korean political and economic officials are accompanying him in the visit with the aim of finding ways to boost mutual relations
Chung said his country would make its utmost efforts to solve the existing problems on the way of Iran’s repatriation of its assets, given the special position of Iran in South Korea’s foreign relations.
Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said Sunday South Korea must take action to unfreeze Iran’s foreign exchange assets as soon as possible, noting that the freeze has badly tarnished the image of South Korean banks among the Iranians.
"Unfortunately during the past three years, South Korea has obeyed the illegal U.S. sanctions which lack any international legitimacy, as a result of which relations with Iran have tanked,” Jahangiri said.

Ali Larijani, an advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, also urged the South Korean government to release Iranian assets as soon as possible to prevent any adverse impact on mutual relations.
"Our assets are in your country’s banks and your government should try to be trustworthy in this matter and release them as soon as possible. This issue should not have a negative effect on the relations of the two countries,” he told Chung Monday.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said unblocking Iran’s funds was important to advance relations.
"Our ties have been affected by this issue,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on Monday. "Some solutions have been discussed, but it remains to be seen to what extent and to what extent they will be operational.”
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