The world's fifth-largest crude importer won a six-month waiver in November 2018 from US sanctions on Tehran's oil exports, but did not immediately start imports, mainly due to payment and insurance issues, Reuters reported.
South Korea, one of Iran's biggest Asian customers, imported 227,941 tons of Iranian crude in January, or 53,676 barrels per day (bpd), data from the country's customs office showed.
Overall, South Korea shipped in 12.46 million tons of crude oil in January, or 2.94 mbd — down 5.9 percent from 13.25 million tons from a year earlier, according to the customs data.
Oil shipments from Saudi Arabia, the country's top oil supplier, fell 4.8 percent to 3.51 million tons in January year on year.
In January, OPEC's oil output fell by about 800,000 bpd to 30.81 mbd, and the biggest supply drop came from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, South Korea's imports of US crude oil amounted to 1.12 million tons in January.
State-run Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) will issue final crude oil import data later this month.