Tuesday, March 21st | 29 Adar 5783

October 30, 2018 11:09 am

South Korea Asks US for ‘Maximum Flexibility’ on Iran Sanctions Waiver

× [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha attends a news conference after the ASEM leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, Oct. 19, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Francois Lenoir.

South Korea has asked the United States for “maximum flexibility” on its request for a waiver to prevent South Korean companies from being affected by renewed US sanctions against Iran, the Foreign Ministry said.

The sanctions against Iranian crude oil exports are set to take effect on Nov. 5 as part of President Donald Trump’s efforts to force Tehran to accede to a more restrictive deal on curbing its nuclear and missile program.

South Korea, a US ally and one of Asia’s biggest buyers of Iranian oil, has already stopped crude imports from Iran. South Korean building firms have also canceled energy-related contracts in Iran due to financing difficulties.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha asked for the exemption in a telephone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late on Monday, the ministry said in a statement.

Related coverage

March 21, 2023 3:33 pm

European Jewish Community Unenthusiastic on EU Antisemitism Initiatives: Report

The European Jewish diaspora is unenthusiastic about European Union (EU) member states' efforts to fight antisemitism, according to a report...

“Minister Kang requested the US side exert maximum flexibility so that South Korea can secure an exemption to minimize the damage to our companies,” the ministry said.

Pompeo said he noted Seoul’s position and would continue discussions on the matter, the ministry said.

The exemption issue is the latest sign of strain between Seoul and Washington over a range of issues, especially the enforcement of sanctions aimed at limiting North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.

South Korea and Japan have been in talks with the United States in a bid to avoid adverse impacts from the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran. Both countries won waivers during the previous round of sanctions that ended in 2016, but Washington has adopted a more aggressive stance this time.

South Korean buyers of Iranian oil have cut their purchases in recent months due to expensive Middle East grades and uncertainty over trade with Iran. Imports of Iranian oil fell to zero in September for the first time since 2012.

Another risk for South Korean companies is that sanctions will make it difficult to receive and make payments in dollars for projects linked to Iran.

On Monday, Hyundai Engineering & Construction said it scrapped a 595 billion won ($521 million) deal to build a petrochemicals complex in Iran due to lack of financing.

In June, Daelim Industrial said a 2.23 trillion won contract to build a refinery project in Iran was canceled due to financing problems.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.