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People's Daily Online

Iran demands release of frozen assets as ROK diplomat visits after tanker seizure

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 08:41, January 11, 2021

TEHRAN, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi met on Sunday evening visiting First Vice Foreign Minister of Republic of Korea (ROK) Choi Jong Kun, and demanded release of Iran's foreign exchange assets frozen in the ROK.

"For about two and a half years, South Korean banks have illegally frozen Iran's foreign exchange assets, citing fear of the United States' sanctions," Araqchi said during the meeting, official news agency IRNA reported.

The ROK's course of action has no other reason than "submission" to Washington's "extortionist policies" and is "not acceptable," he added.

Pointing to several unfruitful rounds of negotiations recently held between the two countries, Araqchi said Iran believes its assets have been frozen "more due to lack of political will on the part of the South Korean government than Washington's iniquitous sanctions."

The Iranian diplomat urged the ROK to find a mechanism to solve the issue, noting it is the first priority in the relations between the two countries.

In response to a request for help from Choi regarding the seizure of the ROK's oil tanker Hankuk Chemi in the Gulf on Jan. 4, Araqchi said it is only a technical matter related to environmental pollution, and the judicial process has already begun.

For his part, Choi said his journey to Iran is a sign that the ROK attaches importance to the Iranian assets issue.

The ROK intends to restore trust in bilateral relations in 2021 by resolving the problems existing between the two countries, he said.

Choi arrived in Iran's capital Tehran on Sunday.

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