According to South Korea’s Central Daily on January 6, the South Korean government is considering a plan to unfreeze Iran’s frozen funds by purchasing a coronavirus vaccine.
On January 5, a South Korean government official said, “The government is trying to allow Iran to use frozen funds to purchase the COVAX Facility’ program for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines.”
After US President Trump tightened economic sanctions against Iran in 2018, a total of $7 billion of Iranian crude oil exports were frozen in two banks in South Korea.
On January 4, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized the Korean tanker Hankuk Chemi because the ship was “suspected of polluting the marine environment”.
However, some analysts believe that Iran chose to seize South Korean ships that have frozen huge payments for Iran’s exports through commercial banks, in order to urge the new Biden administration of the United States to return to the nuclear negotiating table as soon as possible and relax economic sanctions against Iran.
However, South Korean government sources said that “considering the unfreezing of frozen funds in Iran has nothing to do with this matter (the South Korean ship is seized by Iran)” and “the government has already considered this issue”