South Korea is discussing with top officials from the United States and the European Union the possible restoration of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which may lead to unfreezing of Tehran’s assets in Seoul.
According to Yonhap, South Korea's vice foreign minister Cho Hyun-dong held back-to-back separate phone calls Friday with US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley and EU coordinator Enrique Mora to share the latest progress in negotiations to revive the JCPOA nuclear accord.
During the phone talks, Cho reaffirmed Seoul's support for restoring the agreement and expressed hope that a deal could help resolve South Korea's pending issues related to Iran.
Bilateral relations between Seoul and Teheran remain frayed after two South Korean banks locked $7-9 billion of Iranian funds owed for oil imports because of US banking sanctions, which were reimposed after former President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew from the deal.
Iran, which sits on the world's fourth-largest oil reserves, was a key oil supplier to South Korea, and a main importer of goods such as industrial equipment, household appliances and vehicle parts.
Seoul stopped purchasing Iranian oil in May 2019 due to sanctions that banned the Islamic republic's oil exports.