Korea needs diplomatic judgement
Korea needs diplomatic judgement
The South Korea ambassador to Iran has “donated” 2000 masks to a hospital in Tehran. The move angered Iranians, as they considered it an insult to the great nation of Iran.

TEHRAN (Iran News) –  Korea needs diplomatic judgement. The South Korea ambassador to Iran has “donated” 2000 masks to a hospital in Tehran. The move angered Iranians, as they considered it an insult to the great nation of Iran.

The insulting move, that occurred on October 26, annoyed the Iranians, as they started to recount all the actions the Republic of Korea took against Iran.

In 2018, when former U.S. president Donald Trump left the JCPOA, South Korea was one of the first countries to leave the Iranian market. Samsung and LG, two electronics giants, left Iran despite the fact that they had largely captured the Iranian market and made great profits.

But the story did not end here. Over $10b of Iranian assets are frozen in the Korean banks at the request of the United States. Iran has been asking Seoul to unfreeze the assets.

However, the diplomatic efforts have not yet been able to break the ice. As a retaliatory measure, Iran banned import of electronic home appliances from South Korea for two reasons: First, to boost domestic capabilities, and second, to put pressure on the Koreans to take effective measures in releasing Iran’s blocked assets.

But South Korea started acting unexpectedly. It started to put a heavy amount of pressure on the Iranian students studying in South Korea. Several Iranian students reported that Korean universities have emailed them letting them know that their October and November funds will be frozen. In fact, the emails were a warning to the Iranian students to prepare themselves for incoming financial problems. The students posted screenshots of the emails on social media, and soon, the Iranian embassy in Seoul stated that the problem is solved, as they have negotiated with the Korean government. The universities started sending emails, retracting previous statements, saying that the issue was not their fault, and it was instructed to them by the Korean administration.

In October 2021, Iran announced the ban on the import of Korean home appliances to the free trade zones, showing that they are serious in retaliating against the Koreans.

However, the recent move by the Korean embassy added salt to the existing wounds.

The Tehran Times asked the Korean embassy for an explanatory statement on this “gesture”. They replied by saying that in a matter of hours, they will prepare a statement and send it to the newspaper. However, after waiting for a few hours, nothing came from the embassy. They just sent a tweet explaining that they have sent several aid packages to Iran during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as financial aid to be used for Afghan refugees residing in Iran.

The response was surely unconvincing. The Iranians felt “insulted” by the move. Iran does not need 2000 masks, as it is self-sufficient in producing masks. It has exported masks to neighboring countries, such as Afghanistan and Oman. The move was scornful and demeaning.

If South Korea wishes to mend ties with Iran, it should have an envoy who is gifted with diplomatic intelligence.