TEHRAN (defapress) – An official with South Korea’s foreign ministry said the country has won US approval for the resumption of humanitarian exports to Iran under a special license program, with shipments likely to begin next month.
News ID: 80779
Publish Date: 11April 2020 - 14:19
On Monday, Seoul gained the General License No. 8 from the US government -- a mechanism to authorize certain humanitarian transactions with Iran even if they involve Iran's central bank subject to US sanctions, Yonhap news agency reported.
"On April 6, the humanitarian export process based on the General License No. 8 got underway," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity on Friday.
"Our companies and banks should prepare documents needed to carry out enhanced due diligence, and we think that the shipments may begin about a month later," he added.
Apart from the license program, South Korea is also pushing for the Korean Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (KHTA), which uses an Iranian bank free from US sanctions -- such as the Middle East Bank -- to facilitate humanitarian transactions with the Islamic Republic.
South Korea is also exploring ways to use the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement, a payment method designed to facilitate Swiss companies' sales of food and medicine to Iran, to carry out its transactions with Iran.
"South Korea is pushing for all three methods," the official said, noting that the General License No. 8 platform appears to be the fastest way to resume humanitarian exports to Iran, which has faced shortages of medicine and tools to fight the new coronavirus due to the US sanctions.
Though humanitarian exports are not subject to sanctions, South Korean firms had difficulty resuming their sales of medicines and other products to Iran due to fears that they could be affected by the American sanctions.
Iran has been among the countries hardest hit by the new coronavirus, which first showed up in China in late December 2019 before spreading to other parts of the world.
The US has so far refused to ease its sanctions against Iran despite numerous pleas by rights groups, world leaders and US lawmakers amid the pandemic.
The disease has so far killed 4,232 people and infected over 68,192 others in Iran. Nearly 35,465 people have also recovered.