South Korea must abandon illegal policies on Iran frozen assets: Government spokesman

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei has called on South Korea to abandon its “illegal” policies and release the Iranian assets that it has frozen due to the US sanctions so that Tehran can step up its fight against a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

“We expect South Korea to review its illegal approaches and also speed up the implementation of other negotiated solutions in addition to facilitating the trade in humanitarian items,” Rabiei wrote in response to a question raised by reporters on Tuesday after he tested positive for COVID-19.

This would enable the Iranian nation “to gain access to its financial resources as soon as possible and overcome its economic and health problems emanating from the coronavirus spread,” he added.

He expressed regret that South Korea has so far failed to fulfill its promises and implement a mechanism that would make it possible for Iran to use its financial resources.

“We have always emphasized that in order to have access to our country’s financial resources [frozen] in South Korea’s banks, this country should take all legal methods into account,” the Iranian official said.

Rabiei emphasized that the Iranian administration would make its utmost efforts to unfreeze the assets through political, legal and international channels, adding that Tehran would make recourse to more serious legal measures in case Seoul fails Iran.

Iran has informed South Korea of its expectations through different channels and would continue its efforts to release the frozen money, he said.

“Iran and South Korea have always had an acceptable level of relations and we hope that we will not witness any move that would harm such ties,” the government spokesman pointed out.

Iranian authorities have been pressing South Korea to release between $6.5 billion and $9 billion dollars in funds that had been frozen since 2018 when the United States imposed its unilateral sanctions on Iran.

The release of the funds would enable Tehran to purchase medicine and medical equipment needed to fight the new coronavirus pandemic.

Iran is one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 296,273 people have so far contracted the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country. Over 16,140 have also lost their lives to the virus, according to official figures.

Cover photo: Iran’s government spokesman Ali Rabiei

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