South Korea announced a shipment of medical supplies to Iran “as the first case of the export of humanitarian goods to Iran that resumed on 6 April”. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Korea continued close consultations with the U.S. and Iran in order to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran with won-currency deposits”, leading to the reopening in April of “humanitarian trade… which was suspended after the U.S. tightened sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran in September 2019”. “The ROK government will continue consultations with the U.S. and Iran on ways to broaden the scope of trade items to include not only medicine and medical equipment, which are currently the main trade items, but also foods and agricultural products”, the statement added. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson subsequently indicated that “we have held two long years of negotiations on this matter, however, the Koreans listen to the Americans, and they have been waiting to receive a green light from the U.S.”. He added that “we are willing to retake all our assets from South Korea; this is a small but positive step, which comes with procrastination, to remind the Koreans that the long-standing ties between the two countries should not be marred by the interventions of a third country”.
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