Senior Diplomat Stresses S. Korean Firms’ Eagerness to Widen Presence in Iranian Market
"Korean traders and investors are interested in returning to the Iranian markets following the Geneva agreement," South Korea's Political Attaché in Tehran Park Niyung said in a meeting with Hamidreza Taraqqi, the director of Iran's Mo'talefeh Eslami (Islamic Coalition) Party for international affairs, on Tuesday.
Taraqqi, for his part, said the West's unilateral sanctions against Iran have harmed the Korean economy and investors, and underlined, "Korean traders should bypass the sanctions and increase their economic relations with Iran."
In relevant remarks in May, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in a meeting with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Oceania Ebrahim Rahimpour asked for stronger bilateral relations with Tehran, and said his country's firms and companies are willing to widen ties and cooperation with Iran.
"South Korea attaches special importance and value to its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and has always sought to maintain these relations at the best level and status (possible)," Byung-se said during the meeting in Seoul.
He referred to increased exchange of visits by Iranian and South Korean political and parliamentary delegations in recent years, and expressed the hope that the positive developments in the relations between the two countries would lead to the further expansion of ties in different political, economic and cultural fields.
Byung-se pointed to the Geneva agreement inked by Iran and the world powers in November to settle differences over Tehran's nuclear program, and said, "The Korean companies are precisely following the developments (in talks between Iran and the powers) as they are interested in developing their cooperation with Iran in economic and trade fields."
Many world countries, including the US allies, have been sending state and private sector delegates to Iran to explore ways of expanding trade ties and exchanges irrespective of the US sanctions.
European companies are making increasing demands for cooperation with Iran after Tehran and the world powers struck a deal in November which removes sanctions against the country.
Many European countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, are planning to enhance their economic relations with Iran, a business powerhouse in the Middle East region, as sanctions imposed against Tehran are partially suspended.
"Optimism is predominating that there has finally been something of a relaxation in political relations and therefore in business possibilities," Head of Trade Relations at the Association of German Chambers of Commerce Volker Treier said late in January.
The association invited the representatives of German private sectors to hold a meeting over doing business in Iran and the interested representatives “filled the room very quickly”, Treier added.
Dutch ambassador to Iran Jos Douma held a similar meeting in the Netherlands in January to discuss the terms of cooperation between Tehran and the Dutch companies which are eager to return to the Iranian market.
Paris is also sending the executive representatives of around 100 French firms to Tehran for "exploratory" negotiations with Iranian officials in a bid to tap into the potential for mutual economic cooperation between the two sides.
On January 20, Iran and the six powers (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) started the implementation of the historic nuclear deal which the two sides struck in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24, 2013.
After endorsing the agreement with the world powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined that the six world powers have recognized Iran’s enrichment program.
As part of the deal, in exchange for Iran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the six world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran.