TEHRAN (Iran News) – A top Iranian lawmaker on Friday warned South Korea about its “unacceptable” and “unjustifiable” move to block the Islamic Republic’s oil money.
Parliament Vice-Speaker Amir-Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi said it is a source of “regret and surprise” that the government of South Korea has blocked Iran’s oil money under the US pressure.
“The freezing of Iran’s assets by South Korea shows that this country does not adhere to any ethical and legal principles and violates the rights of a nation due to the pressure of a bullying government,” Hashemi said, referring to the United States.
Iranian authorities have been pressing South Korea to release between $6.5 billion and $9 billion in frozen funds so that Tehran could use them for the purchase of basic goods.
Hashemi slammed Seoul’s “rude” behavior and urged the Iranian Foreign Ministry to actively pursue the return of the oil money.
“We must do our utmost to free our assets, especially in South Korea, and spare no effort in doing so,” he said.
On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said Tehran has already given an official warning to Seoul over the frozen assets.
South Korea cites the US sanctions as an excuse for not releasing Iran’s money, Mousavi told a press briefing.
However, he added, relations between South Korea and the US have nothing to do with Iran.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a meeting with Iranian parliamentarians that countries like South Korea have not responded positively to Iran’s repeated requests for release of funds that have reportedly been blocked because of the US pressure.
“Some countries like Oman and China have acted positively on the return of these funds but South Korea has not taken any significant action in this regard,” said Zarif, according to remarks published by Iranian Parliament’s news service.
Zarif said the South Korean government claims it has “certain problems” in transferring the money it owes to Iran mainly because of the US sanctions.
“On the one hand, we are negotiating for the return of the blocked funds and on the other, there have been some proper legal actions,” said the top Iranian diplomat without elaborating on what legal path Iran has taken to secure the release of funds.
Business sources said last week that Seoul had agreed to allow Iran to use part of the funds for purchases of drugs and medical equipment.
Iran is struggling to return the funds frozen by foreign banks amid a shortage of hard currency in the country which has been contending with the coronavirus pandemic over the past months.
Press TV contributed to this story.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews