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‘Washington, Tehran could agree nuke deal within days’

‘Washington, Tehran could agree nuke deal within days’

Posted February. 19, 2022 07:26,   

Updated February. 19, 2022 07:26


Iran is reportedly close concluding negotiations to restore the nuclear agreement it exchanged with six countries including the U.S. The first draft of the new agreement reportedly includes provisions suggesting that Iran will reduce the level of its uranium enrichment in phases and that the U.S. will release funds from Iran’s crude oil export to South Korea, which has remained frozen in Korean banks.

Reuters reported Thursday that the first draft of an agreement between the parties, which amounts to 20 pages, includes a string of measures that Washington and Tehran should take in phases in order to follow the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The new agreement includes a provision on the release of the 7 billion-dollar fund from Iran’s crude oil export that remains frozen in South Korea. When Iran was banned from remitting fund in dollars due to U.S. sanctions, it opened accounts at Korean banks including Woori Bank and Industrial Bank of Korea in 2010, and received funds from its crude oil exports to Korea. After payments for Iran’s crude oil exports were deposited in those accounts, Korean companies would receive payments for their own exports to Iran from the accounts. However, those accounts were frozen when Washington reinstated its sanctions against Iran in 2019.

Iran has been strongly demanding South Korea to return the fund. The South Korean government judges that the hijacking by Iran of a Korean oceangoing vessel in waters in the Gulf at the pretext of oceanic pollution in January 2021 is also related to Tehran’s discontent about the frozen fund. To help address the issue, Seoul reportedly discussed with Washington ways to include the release of the frozen fund in the new nuclear agreement.

Jae-Dong Yu jarrett@donga.com