Business Leaders Say Iraq And South Korea Have Not Released Any Iran Funds

11/14/2021

The chairmen of Iraq and Korea joint chambers of commerce say news about $3.5 billion of Iran’s frozen funds being freed is not related to the two countries.

Yahya Ale-Es’haq chairman of Iran-Iraq joint commerce of chamber and Hossein Tanhaee, head of the Korean chamber were responding to claims by Ali Naderi, the CEO of the government’s official news agency IRNA on Friday, that recently $3.5 billion of Iran’s frozen funds abroad were released.

This claim was followed on Saturday by Javan newspaper, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, that claimed $4 billion has been released “without negotiations”, but providing no details.

Ale-Es’haq told local media that Iraq has not freed any of the funds it owes Iran due to US banking sanctions and if the news about frozen money being released is true, it could be related to South Korea. Two banks in Seoul hold $7 billion also frozen because of US sanctions.

But Tanhaee separately told ILNA news agency late Saturday that South Korea also has not released any funds.

Last week, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency wrote after Korea's first vice minister for foreign affairs, Choi Jong-kun, talked by phone with the US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, that Seoul and Washington maintained communication over Iran, especially on Iranian assets locked in South Korean banks.

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