South Korea’s prime minister in Iran for talks on frozen accounts

Iran satellite

(dpa) – South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye Kyun arrived in Tehran on Sunday, part of a three-day visit aimed at resolving a diplomatic spat about frozen Iranian funds in South Korean banks, Iranian state television reported.

Iran says the accounts, frozen as a result of US sanctions, contain more than 5 billion dollars in oil export revenues.

Tehran has called on Seoul to immediately unfreeze the accounts or else face a restriction of economic cooperation. Iranian legal officials have meanwhile demanded major South Korean companies such as Samsung and LG be banned from the Iranian market.

The frozen accounts led to a diplomatic crisis between two countries that have otherwise maintained good relations in recent months. Matters worsened when Iranian naval forces seized a South Korean tanker in the Persian Gulf earlier this year.

Tehran said the tanker seizure had nothing to do with the frozen funds and that this was related to marine pollution. Iran released the tanker on Friday and announced the South Korean prime minister’s trip shortly afterwards.

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