S. Korean senior diplomat to hold talks in Vienna on Iranian frozen assets

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced that its Deputy Foreign Minister would head to Vienna to hold talks with Iran and participants countries to the JCPOA about the issue of Iranian frozen assets.

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The South Korean Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday indicating that the First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun would pay a visit to Vienna this week to discuss the issue of Iran’s frozen assets held in the Asian country.

The statement noted that “the delegation would explore ways to resolve the issue of frozen Iranian assets in Korea.” The South Korean diplomat will come together with Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA, including France, Germany, and the UK on the sidelines of the nuclear talks have taken place in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

The consultations would be carried in coordination with the United States, as well, according to the ministry statement.

Diplomats familiar with the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna expressed their hope to make progress by the end of January or early February, attaching annotation that difference of views on the toughest issues still remain to be resolved.

Yet, the development regarding the Iranian frozen assets can be considered a positive signal. The release of its frozen assets in several countries, including $7 billion in South Korea is one of the demands that Iran has frequently raised. Since it results from US sanctions, any release requires approval by Washington.

The eighth round of nuclear negotiations, the first with Iran’s new administration under hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, restarted on Monday. The Iranian side came up with new demands.

Meanwhile, remaining participant countries have complained about the slow pace of the negotiations without bearing any fruitful outcome. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cautioned Iran that time was running out to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement once again, on Tuesday.

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