S. Korea slaps independent economic sanctions on Iran

17:27, September 08, 2010      

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Putting an end to weeks of deliberation, South Korea unveiled independent sanctions on Iran Wednesday for its contentious nuclear program suspected to be a cover for developing nuclear weapons, joining the U.S.-led campaign to punish the country.


Seoul blacklisted 102 entities and 24 individuals believed to be involved in Tehran's nuclear activities, and decided impose a " severe penalty" on the Seoul branch of Bank Mellat, the only Iranian bank in the country suspected of illicit financial transactions aiding the nuclear program.

The previous probe into Bank Mellat by Seoul's financial authorities revealed violations of the Foreign Exchange Transaction Act, the government said. The UN accused the bank of having "facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions to help aid Iran's nuclear, missile, and defense entities."

"Transactions by Bank Mellat that involves only one dollar will still have to gain prior government approval," a government official told reporters after a joint briefing by South Korean officials from government branches and agencies concerned, including the foreign ministry, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) and the finance ministry.

"Normal" transactions by the bank's Seoul branch will be " difficult," the official added.

Fifteen Iranian banks, including Bank Mellat, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), have been blacklisted. CISCO Shipping Company and Iran Petrochemical Commercial Company are among other Iranian entities that made their names in Seoul's bad books.

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