Friday, 15 November, 2019

S. Korea’s exports of humanitarian goods to Iran effectively halted after U.S. sanctions

South Korea’s exports of humanitarian goods to Iran have effectively been halted as U.S. sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation have strengthened, a source said Thursday.

Financial transactions between Seoul and Tehran for shipments of food and medical items have become very difficult after Washington recently requested Seoul share the details of the exports, according to the source.

Washington toughened the sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) last month, requiring third countries to provide information on trade with Tehran.

It’s realistically impossible to share such trade details with Washington for every single case, the source said.

The U.S. decided in April this year to end sanctions waivers for imports of Iranian oil by South Korea and other countries. Since then, South Korean companies have faced difficulties in selling medicine, medical equipment and other humanitarian products to Iran through a bilateral transaction system using the Korean currency, the won.

The Iranian central bank has won-based accounts at Woori Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea in Seoul for payments of not just oil imports but also products that are not subject to sanctions.

In June, Seoul officials visited Washington to ask for U.S. cooperation for the exports of humanitarian goods to Iran.

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