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Only way South Korea can repair image is to return funds: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An Iranian deputy FM says repatriation of funds is the only way South Korea can repair its image.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani says that the only way South Korea can repair its tainted image in Iran is by quickly returning billion of dollars in funds frozen in the country because of US pressure.

Bagheri said on Wednesday that he had pressed South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong Kun in a phone conversation held earlier in the day for a repatriation of the funds held in two South Korean banks for more than three years. 

“I reminded him (Choi) that only an effective and quick action to remove restrictions on Iranian funds in South Korea and compensating the costs incurred could effectively repair this country’s tarnished image among the Iranian people,” Bagheri wrote in a Persian post sent on Twitter.

South Korea owes Iran over $7 billion for imports of energy that took place before the United States imposed its unilateral sanctions on Tehran in mid-2018.

Seoul says US sanctions on Iran effectively bars transactions involving the funds while authorities in the East Asian country insist they are waiting for a new agreement between Iran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement that could allow the funds to released.

However, South Korea’s full compliance with US secondary sanctions, which can only apply to US citizens and those having businesses in the US, has caused public uproar in Iran with calls increasing for a boycott on electronic products and home appliances manufactured in South Korea.

The Iranian government announced an outright ban on imports of home appliances earlier this month after it emerged that import companies were preparing to place orders for new shipments from two major South Korean brands.

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