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Politics Iran: South Korea releasing $1B frozen by US sanctions

17:05  23 february  2021
17:05  23 february  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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  North Korea Fast Facts Read CNN's North Korea Fast Facts to learn about the history, population and geography of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).Here's some background information about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), also called North Korea. It borders China, Russia and South Korea.

An Iranian government spokesperson on Tuesday said that South Korea will be releasing $1 billion in frozen assets as an "initial step" in resolving a dispute between the two countries.

a close up of a flag: Iran: South Korea releasing $1B frozen by US sanctions © iStock Iran: South Korea releasing $1B frozen by US sanctions

Bloomberg reports that Ali Rabiei, spokesman for Iran's government, made the remarks in a news conference Tuesday. Iran has stated that it seeks to use the funds to purchase medicine for the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Rabiei, there is currently between $7 billion to $10 billion worth of oil payments held in South Korea. Bloomberg reports that Rabiei linked the release of Iranian funds to the recent seizure of a South Korean oil tanker.

Iran poses early test for Biden's diplomacy-first approach

  Iran poses early test for Biden's diplomacy-first approach President Biden's decision to open the door to negotiations with Iran and other nations underscores a sharp turn away from his predecessor and back to the diplomacy-first foreign policy championed during the Obama years.The Biden administration said Thursday that it would accept an invitation from the European Union to talk with Iran and the five other signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal that former President Trump withdrew from in 2018.TheThe Biden administration said Thursday that it would accept an invitation from the European Union to talk with Iran and the five other signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal that former President Trump withdrew from in 2018.

The Iranian government seized the Hankuk Chemi oil tanker in January on allegations of environmental pollution, Al Jazeera reports. This was the first time in over a year that Iran had seized a major vessel and many international commentators felt it was done in response to the frozen funds, which Iran has denied.


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The 19-person crew was released by the Iranian government in early February.

"The two sides ... shared the view that the release of the sailors was an important first step to restore trust between the two countries and they will work to resolve the issue of frozen Iranian assets in South Korean banks," South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement at the time.

Rabiei reportedly said that similar discussions are happening in Japan, Iraq and Oman regarding the release of Iranian assets kept in those countries as well.

Banks have refused to handle Iranian funds, Bloomberg notes, due to fear of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. This has effectively blocked Iran from accessing its funds kept overseas.

The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.

Moon: South Korea, Japan must look to future to improve ties .
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that his government is eager for talks with Japan to improve relations following years of bitter feuding over historical grievances, adding that those unresolved issues should not stand in the way of developing “future-oriented” ties. “There have been times where issues of the past weren’t separated from those of the future and became intermingled with each other. This has impeded forward-looking development,” Moon said in a nationally televised speech commemorating the anniversary of a 1919 Korean uprising against Japanese colonial rule.

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This is interesting!