Iran's chief nuclear negotiator meeting with a senior South Korean diplomat in Vienna. January 6, 2022

Iran, South Korea To Start Discussions To Free Tehran’s Frozen Assets

Saturday, 01/29/2022

Iran and South Korea have planned to start negotiations next month in Seoul to devise a mechanism as to how to release Iranian funds frozen due to US sanctions.

An informed source told Yonhap on Saturday that working-level consultations to untangle the disputes will take place next month.

Seoul officials say the proposed working groups will go over details of a potential money transfer once sanctions are lifted in case the Vienna talks manage to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that they are also expected to discuss other aspects in the event of a no deal.

"The working groups are expected to mainly discuss details of the payment method of the Iranian assets if the US grants sanctions relief," they said.

The source told Yonhap on the condition of anonymity that the working groups “could talk further on the possibility of resuming oil imports from Iran once sanctions are lifted."

According to the Korea International Trade Association, Seoul stopped purchase of Iranian oil since 2019 due to sanctions that ban the Islamic republic's oil exports.

Two South Korea banks hold $7-9 billion of Iranian money, owed for oil imports, but the funds are locked under US sanctions, which were reimposed after former President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew from the deal.

Earlier this month South Korea got the green light from the US to pay over $18 million of Iran’s dues to the UN from the blocked assets so that Iran can get back its power to vote.

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