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Financial Sanctions Imposed on 102 Iranian Entities

Posted September. 09, 2010 11:38,   


The government decided Wednesday to ban financial transactions with Iran without getting permission from or reporting to authorities, and to suspend operations of Mellat Bank’s Seoul branch.

The suspension will reportedly remain in effect for two months.

Seoul announced a draft plan to impose sanctions on Iran at a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, the Strategy and Finance Ministry and the Financial Supervisory Service at the Foreign Ministry in central Seoul. The government will implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, which covers the scope of finance, trade, transportation, travel and energy.

In line with the resolution, 102 Iranian organizations subject to sanctions were designated, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and Mellat. Also targeted were 24 individuals on top of 40 organizations and an individual.

Accordingly, trading foreign currencies with these organizations and individuals without government permission is prohibited. The government said the measures effectively constitute the freezing of their assets, and also banned entry into Korea those subject to the sanctions under the U.N. resolution.

On Mellat’s Seoul branch, which is suspected of aiding Tehran’s development of weapons of mass destruction, a Korean government official said, “Even the trading of one dollar requires government permission,” adding, “Parties found to have committed additional violations could face heavier punishment.”

Korean agencies conducting transactions with organizations not subject to the sanctions must get prior permission from authorities if a deal is worth 40,000 euros (50,700 U.S. dollars), and must report a deal valued at 10,000 (12,600 dollars) to 40,000 euros.

Iranian banks will be prohibited from opening a new branch or subsidiary in Korea. The trading of Iranian government bonds will be banned when reasonable evidence suggests that the bonds might contribute to Tehran’s nuclear proliferation activities and development of nuclear weapons transport systems.

Additionally, Korean organizations cannot make new investments, provide technological and financial services, and sign construction contracts with Iran. Seoul also urged Korean companies with existing contracts with Iran to refrain from conducting active transactions and exercise extra caution.

The government, however, will allow companies to continue normal and legal transactions with Iran, a measure meant to minimize damage to Korean companies. Companies will be allowed to open Korean won accounts at domestic banks in the name of Iran’s central bank, and implement measures designed to support small and medium-size exporters and importers as planned.

An official at the Iranian Embassy in Seoul told The Dong-A Ilbo on the sanctions, “For the time being, we have nothing to say.”

will71@donga.com jarrett@donga.com