Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the country is filing lawsuits against “delinquent” South Korean banks which have seized Iran’s money.
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs broke the news in an announcement it released in response to an article titled “Who emboldened the Koreans?” which was published in the Iranian press.
“Over the past two years, high on the agenda and a pivotal issue in Iran-South Korea relations has been to provide access to the financial resources of the Central Bank of Iran in South Korea,” the statement said.
“Accordingly, in addition to receiving South Korea’s special envoy, dozens of meetings have been held in Tehran and Seoul with South Korean authorities,” it added.
“In accordance with its fundamental duties, the foreign ministry deliberately facilitates foreign relations, including economic ties with other countries, and stands by other institutions in the country in line with carrying out this mission.”
The statement said “pertinent authorities are filing a lawsuit against the delinquent Korean banks at competent courts, and this has been announced by the respected governor of the Central Bank.”
“Obviously, the nature of the responsibilities of the foreign ministry requires that it should not publicly announce all of its activities.”
It also dismissed a media report by conservative newspaper Kayhan that scorned the Foreign Ministry for its lack of enough action on the issue of blocked funds.
The statement denied that the Iranian ambassador to Seoul has been “summoned” to the Korean Foreign Ministry.
On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi issued a fresh warning to South Korea over billions of dollars of Iranian funds blocked in the Southeast Asian country, signaling that Tehran would not be happy with a partial reimbursement through humanitarian shipments.
Iran has had enough of various promises made in South Korea about returning the funds that have been illegally blocked by two banks over US sanctions, Mousavi said.
“We’ve much heard promises from South Korea. Now, we only wait for tangible, vital action,” said Mousavi in a tweet.
The spokesman further warned Seoul that sending a large shipment of humanitarian goods to Iran paid for by Iranian funds would not please Tehran.
“We hope (South Korea) officials to remember about amount of Iranian nation’s financial resources in Seoul,” he said.
Reports in recent weeks had suggested that South Korea plans to allow Iran to use part of its funds, believed to be between $6 billion and $9 billion, to buy medicine and medical equipment from South Korean companies.
Trade sources have expressed hope that Iran could gradually use the funds for other purchases in South Korean in the near future.