South Korea has made no decision yet on how much to cut its crude oil imports from Iran as part of a U.S.-led campaign to sanction the Middle Eastern nation over seeking nuclear weapons programs, an official said Friday.
Presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha made the remark, denying a newspaper report that Seoul is expected to slash up to half of its crude imports from Iran amid concern a drastic cut could have negative effects on Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
Iran accounts for about 10 percent of total South Korean crude imports.
“No decision has been made by our government with regard to sanctions on Iran,” Park said. “A decision will be made in a direction that minimizes the impact to our economy.”
Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser overseeing sanctions on Iran, is scheduled to visit Seoul next week to discuss the issue. He is expected to explain the details and implementation plans of a new law aimed at punishing Tehran over its nuclear ambitions.
The law bans those dealing with Iran’s central bank from accessing the U.S. financial system.
As Iran uses its central bank as a main channel of receiving payments for its oil exports, the measure is expected to have the effect of stopping foreign countries from importing from the Islamic nation. (Yonhap News)