- Press Releases
US Announces that It Grants ROK Exemption from Sanctions on Iran
1. On November 5, the United States announced that it would reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s energy and financial sectors, and at the same time grant the Republic of Korea and other countries “exemptions” from US sanctions on trade with Iran on condition that they significantly reduce their imports of Iranian crude oil.
o The countries which were granted exemptions this time can conduct transactions with Iran in areas exempted from sanctions for the next 180 days, and after 180 days, the exemptions could be renewed.
2. The US decision to exempt the ROK from sanctions on Iran will allow the ROK to continue its imports of Iranian crude oil, and thus ensure a stable supply of condensate, which plays a vital part in the ROK’s petrochemical industry. As the Korean Won-based settlement system that has been used for the ROK-Iran trade can be maintained, the ROK will also be able to continue exporting items not subject to sanctions to Iran.
3. Since immediately after the US announcement that it would reinstate sanctions on Iran (May 8), the ROK government has responded to it in various ways at each level of government for about six months in order to minimize the impact of the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran on Korean companies and economy.
o High-level officials, including the President, the Ministers and the Vice Ministers, have continued to deliver the ROK’s position to the US side.
- The two sides reached a final agreement on exemptions in the telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Secretary of State Pompeo on October 29.
o The ROK launched a government-wide task force, and it held comprehensive working-level consultations with the US side three times (June 18 in Seoul, July 19 in Washington, and September 25 in New York), and frequently consulted with the US.
o During the process, the ROK government held close consultations in real time, including eight interagency meetings on ways to respond to the issue, and eleven briefing sessions for companies to minimize the negative impact on industries.
4. The US especially considers its decision to grant an exemption to the ROK a representative case of strengthening substantive cooperation between the two countries on the basis of the firm spirit of the ROK-US alliance, even when it is applying the strongest-ever pressure on Iran by blocking sources of money available to Iran.
o The US decision is seen as a result of maximum flexibility the US exerted, considering its special relationship with its ally, and the trade situation facing the ROK.
5. The ROK government, as a responsible member of the international community, will continue to take part in the efforts of the international community, including the US, to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully, and to promote stability and peace in the Middle East. In doing so, the ROK will continue to closely consult with countries concerned to minimize the impact on the Korean economy.
* unofficial translation