Iran Refutes Oil-For-Food Deal With South Korea

Published December 5th, 2018 - 06:53 GMT
Foreign Ministry spokesman denies 'baseless' rumors regarding any agreement between Tehran and Seoul, local media reports. (Shutterstock)
Foreign Ministry spokesman denies 'baseless' rumors regarding any agreement between Tehran and Seoul, local media reports. (Shutterstock)

A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Monday denied rumors of an oil-for-food agreement with South Korea, local media reported.

"Some media outlets have been discussing Iran-South Korea oil-for-food dealings which I deny," Bahram Ghasemi told a news conference in Tehran, according to a Monday report by the Oil Ministry's news outlet, Shana, based on a same-day story by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

"The rumor and false remarks regarding issues like oil for food are released by certain sources and are baseless," the spokesman said.

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On Saturday, IRNA reported that Iran and South Korea had agreed on a suitable payment mechanism for Iranian oil exports to South Korea. 

IRNA quoted Hossein Tanhaee, the head of the Iran-South Korea Chamber of Commerce as saying that the cost of goods to be supplied to Iranian importers would be subtracted from the cost of oil exports to South Korea and these importers would pay the price of the goods to the Iranian government.

"If the central banks of both countries are unable to make transactions, the private sectors can barter within the framework of a joint fund," Tanhaee added.

Financial channel between EU, Iran

In addition, on the subject of European countries operating a financial channel between Iran and Europe, Shana, citing IRNA, quoted Ghasemi as saying that there were discussions in this regard among the countries, and some did not have the ability to host the channel, while others expressed readiness to do so.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had said in late September that a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is being considered to facilitate trade with Iran while protecting it from U.S. sanctions could be in place before November.

Ghasemi described U.S. pressure on countries as "serious" and "a complex matter", adding the positive will shown in European countries to find ways to deploy the right mechanisms for Iran to do trade was optimistic, Shana reported.  

"Our view is optimistic, and we hope that this will go well," the spokesman said.

On Nov. 5 the U.S. re-imposed sanctions targeting Iran's energy, shipbuilding, shipping, and financial sectors. The sanctions also targeted Iran's oil sales in order to hurt the country's economy and bring Tehran back to the negotiating table to discuss its nuclear arsenal.

The Donald Trump administration granted waivers to eight countries including China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, the U.A.E., Japan and Taiwan -- the top importers of Iran's oil.


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