The governor of the Central Bank of Iran criticized South Korea for bowing to pressures from the US which have restrained Seoul from releasing the Iranian funds.
In a post on his Instagram account on Thursday, CBI chief Abdolnaser Hemmati reacted to the recent comments from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who said Washington will not release Iran’s assets in South Korea unless Tehran returns to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“From the outset, it was clear that the (South) Korean government cannot decide independently to settle problems pertaining to Iran’s forex resources,” Hemmati said.
“The request for talks (with Iran) was put forward by the (South) Korean ambassador (to Iran), and it was South Korean officials themselves that agreed to return Iran’s financial resources,” the CBI governor added.
“In that meeting, I asked them whether or not they had gotten the necessary permission from the Americans,” he said.
Hemmati underlined that the CBI is drawing up its plan regardless of its frozen assets in other countries, the government’s website reported.
“The CBI has regulated its program to meet the country’s forex needs irrespective of its frozen resources in South Korea and other countries,” he added.
Hemmati noted the CBI is using revenues from non-oil exports as well as “imports-for-exports” plans to provide the necessary foreign currency for the procurement of basic commodities, medicines and medical equipment.
Iran has been pressing South Korea to release between $6.5 billion and $9 billion dollars in funds that had been frozen since 2018 when the US imposed its unilateral sanctions on Iran.
The release of the funds is believed to enable Tehran to purchase medicine and medical equipment needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.