TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran and South Korea have agreed to launch a working group on expanding humanitarian trade as part of efforts to maintain bilateral partnership within the scope of a US-approved sanctions exemption, a source close to the matter said Sunday.
The director general-level consultation aims to discuss on a regular basis how to match Iran’s demand for medicine and medical equipment with what South Korean exporters can offer, the source said, Yonhap news agency reported.
The first working group talks will likely be held early next month.
The two sides reached the agreement during their higher-level virtual talks held earlier this week. In the talks, “the Iranian side expressed intent to purchase several hundred millions of dollars worth of South Korean products”, according to the source.
This came after an Iranian lawmaker earlier warned that the country’s Parliament will devise a double-urgency motion to ban imports of goods from South Korea if Seoul fails to fulfill its promises and release the Iranian assets that it has frozen due to the US sanctions.
Iran’s assets at two Korean bank accounts — known to be worth up to US$7 billion in total — have been frozen since September last year when Washington’s sanctions waiver for South Korea’s imports of Iranian oil expired.
Due to the economic challenges caused by US unilateral sanctions and the fallout of the new coronavirus, Iran has been stepping up calls for South Korea to unlock the frozen assets at the bank accounts but Seoul has refused to do so under the US pressure.