South Korea halts Iranian oil imports despite released assets
Officials and refinery sources from both Tehran and Seoul have confirmed that the release of Iran’s blocked assets in South Korea will not lead to the immediate resumption of Iranian oil exports to South Korea.
Despite the announcement by Iran’s Central Bank governor of the release of assets, the nation’s Oil Minister, Javad Owji, stated on August 13 that these funds, obtained from Iran’s gas condensate exports to South Korea in the late 2010s, will be utilized as banking payments to procure non-sanctioned goods and commodities.
“Although Iran’s cultural and economic ties with South Korea have strengthened over time, the purchase of Iranian oil by South Korean refiners has been suspended for years due to sanctions. In the years preceding the US imposition of sanctions on Iran, South Korea stood as one of the top three customers for Iranian crude oil, serving as the largest importer of the country’s gas condensates”.
“Data from the South Korea National Oil Company paints a vivid picture, showing that the nation imported a substantial 148 million barrels of both crude oil and gas condensates from Iran back in 2017. Despite these historical trade ties, the current state of sanctions and economic realities appear to have curtailed the immediate resumption of Iranian oil exports to South Korea”.