South Korea said it is in talks with the US government to receive exemptions on Washington’s upcoming sanctions on oil imports from Iran – Seoul's third crude supplier.
The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced it had already held two rounds of consultations with the US to receive the waivers, Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday.
The negotiations, it added, will continue until November, when the American sanctions targeting Iran's crude exports are to snap back in place. Seoul received a waiver during previous sanctions on Tehran.
The ministry also said South Korea will extend financial support for companies affected by US new sanctions.
Deputy Trade Minister Kang Sung-cheon says his country “will continue to consult with the US government to get relief on Iranian crude purchases.”
According to Kang, Seoul needs the waivers “to minimize the effect of the reimposition of Iran sanctions on the Korean economy and doing business” with the Islamic Republic.
Seoul is also set to provide financial support to the companies affected by the American sanctions.
Such support mechanisms were discussed at a meeting of South Korea's Trade Ministry officials with representatives of the companies active in the Iranian market, including automakers and construction firms, as well as the country's trade promotion agencies, according to Yonhap.
South Korea relies on Iran for 13 percent of its imported oil, making Tehran its third crude supplier following Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
In 2017, the South purchased 147 million barrels of Iranian oil.
Last month, Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said she hoped the bans against Iran “could be circumvented.”
China, India and Turkey are already on board to continue Iranian oil imports despite US sanctions. Japan also says it is considering continuing shipments from Tehran.
The US in May pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and announced it would reimpose the anti-Tehran sanctions, which it had lifted under the agreement, in two phases.
The first round of sanctions, which mainly targets Iran's financial, automotive, aviation and metals sectors, was reimposed in early August. The second round, which will hit the Iranian oil industry and banking relations, is slated for November 4.
Market analysts have warned that the oil sanctions could sharply increase the global oil prices, even above $150, if Iran’s supplies of around 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) are disrupted.
Press TV contributed to this story.