S. Korean to unveil sanctions on Iran Wednesday

13:10, September 08, 2010      

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South Korea will unveil sanctions on Iran Wednesday for its contentious nuclear program suspected to be a cover for developing nuclear weapons, the government here said.

Government ministries concerned, including the foreign ministry and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), are planning to jointly announce a set of sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation later in the day, the foreign ministry said.

The United States has been pushing South Korea, its major Asian ally, to join its drive to impose additional sanctions on Iran in addition to U.N. sanctions for its nuclear program that some believe is a cover for developing nuclear weapons.

Robert Einhorn, the State Department's special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, visited Seoul in August to press the issue. Officials from Tehran, denying the charge, threatened countermeasures.

While local media predict 102 organizations and 24 individuals will make it to Seoul's blacklist, operations of the Seoul branch of Bank Mellat, the only Iranian bank in the country suspected of illicit financial transactions aiding Iran's nuclear activities, is widely expected to be suspended for several months.

Under the government sanctions, all financial institutions will have to report to authorities or gain prior permission if they are to engage in financial transactions with Iran, according to Seoul' s semi-official Yonhap News Agency.

Concerns linger over financial damage the independent sanctions might bring about. Seoul relies on Tehran, the biggest trade partner in the Middle East, for 10 percent of its crude oil imports. Some 2,000 small and mid-sized enterprises have tapped into the fast-growing Iranian market.

The European Union, Australia, Canada and Japan have joined the U.S.-led campaign to punish Iran for its uranium enrichment program, which Tehran says is only for peaceful purposes.

Source: Xinhua


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