The United States granted South Korea a waiver of sanctions, allowing the country to pay millions of dollars in outstanding compensation to an Iranian investor over a dispute in 2010.
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Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said it had received a “specific license” from the US Treasury Department authorizing the South Korean government to pay compensation to Iran’s Dayyani group.
“The license allows the US financial system to be used to pay compensation to the Iranian private investor,” the ministry said in a statement.
In 2018, the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes ordered Seoul to pay 73 billion won ($ 61 million) to the Dayyani Group following the failed 2010 takeover of Daewoo Electronics.
The license will serve as an “important basis” for settling the dispute with the Iranian investor, the ministry added, expressing hope that “it will help improve bilateral relations.”
The announcement comes more than a week after South Korea sent senior diplomats to Vienna for talks with US negotiators working to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The Islamic Republic was South Korea’s third-largest trading partner in the Middle East before the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions.
Iran was a major oil supplier to the resource-poor South Korea, and in turn imported industrial equipment, household appliances and vehicle parts from Seoul.
Iran last year threatened South Korea with legal action unless Seoul releases more than $ 7 billion in frozen funds for oil shipments.
On the sidelines of nuclear talks last week, South Korea said it was looking for ways to resolve the problem of Iranian assets frozen in Korea.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom are participating in the talks on the 2015 agreement, with Russia and China, while the United States is indirectly involved.
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