MEHR: South Korea and the US are discussing ways to release the $7 billion Iranian funds held in the Asian country.
Korean and US government officials are involved in working-level discussions under Washington’s leadership to unfreeze the Iranian funds, diplomatic and government sources in Seoul said on Monday.
The release, if implemented, will come under stringent conditions that Iran use the funds only for public purposes, the Korean Economic Daily quoted people familiar with the matter as saying.
“If all goes to plan, we expect our strained relationship with Iran to improve significantly,” said a Seoul government official.
If talks turn out to be successful, the frozen money will be allowed to be transferred to Iranian bank branches in neighboring Middle Eastern countries, sources said.
The bilateral ties between South Korea and Iran frayed in recent years due to Iranian money frozen at two commercial banks in Korea – Woori Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea – since 2018 when the Donald Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reimposed sanctions on Iran afterward. Tehran has long called on Seoul to release the funds.