TEHRAN (Iran News) – Imports of Home Appliances Banned; Seoul Urged to Unfreeze Assets.. The semi-official Fars news agency on Thursday published images of the order signed by chief of staff at the Iranian presidency office Gholamhossein Esmaeili banning imports of any finished home appliances products.
The order was issued after Ayatollha Khamenei issued a notice to Raeisi warning that a potential return foreign brands of home appliances, including two of two South Korean companies, to the Iranian market would be a huge blow to local manufacturers and their expansion projects.
The Leader intervened in the case after local brands of home appliances wrote to him to ask for help, according to a letter by his office addressed to the Iranian Presidency.
Local manufacturers of home appliances have reported continued increase in their output as they have been struggling to fill a gap created by the departure of foreign companies from Iran after the US sanctions were imposed.
South Korea’s Samsung and LG were among the first such firms that decided to leave the Iranian market three years ago to comply with US sanctions.
The ban imposed on Thursday would not cover parts used to manufacture home appliances inside Iran.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister urged that South Korea provide the Islamic Republic with “quick access” to the funds that it has been withholding from the country under the banner of abiding by US sanctions.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks to his Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong during a telephone conversation on Thursday.
Amir-Abdollahian expressed “strong criticism” of the continued freezing of the Iranian funds at South Korea’s banks.
Iranian authorities have said on several occasions that they expect South Korea to do more on the release of nearly $8.5 billion blocked illegally at two South Korean banks under the pretext of the United States’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The top Iranian diplomat urged that the money be released so the Islamic Republic could use it towards buying medicine and other commodities.
It had been previously agreed for the funds to be used by Iran towards the purchase of humanitarian items, something that has again been prevented as a result of Korea’s commitment to honor the sanctions.
Tehran has been returning Seoul’s refusal towards cooperation by exercising restrictions on imports from South Korea.
“The Iranian people are seriously displeased with the situation” that has been brought about as a result of cessation of trade activities between the countries—on the back of the American economic measures—and prevention of application of the funds even towards purchase of humanitarian items, Amir-Abdollahian told the Korean official.
Chung, for his part, said that he was pursuing the issue of Iran’s access to the frozen funds.
He, meanwhile, expressed concern regarding the actions that the Islamic Republic has been taking concerning the Korean imports.