U.S. praises Korea for sanctions against Iran

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U.S. praises Korea for sanctions against Iran

The United States government welcomed South Korea’s decision yesterday to slap tough sanctions on Iran the day before, in face of mounting demands for Iran to come forward and discuss its nuclear aims with the world.

“These actions strengthen the growing international resolve to prevent proliferation and Iran’s development of nuclear weapons and to press Iran to return to serious negotiations on its nuclear program and meet its international obligations,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a joint statement commending South Korea’s decision to impose sanctions.

“We welcome in particular the Republic of Korea’s decision to impose sanctions in a number of Iranian economic sectors that have been exploited for proliferation-related purposes by entities and individuals of concern,” continued the statement.

The penalties dictated by Seoul virtually halted all financial activities at the Seoul branch of Iran’s Bank Mellat, although local financial authorities have yet to decide a specific form of penalty. The bank had been under fire previously in other countries for being involved in illegal financial transactions.

The move to penalize the bank would “demonstrate to Iran the consequences of its failure to meet its international obligations,” said Clinton and Geithner.

“The Republic of Korea’s robust inspections framework, its prohibition on the export of strategic, controlled items and its prohibition of new investments or sale of goods, services and technology to Iran’s energy sector will also further limit Iran’s ability to conduct its illicit activities. Additional pressure on Iran’s leaders is essential to making clear the choice Iran faces and to achieving the goal of a diplomatic resolution,” the cabinet secretaries stated.

South Korea is the fifth country to take unilateral measures against Iran’s nuclear objectives, following the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan.

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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