0347 GMT October 22, 2019
Speaking at a meeting with the members of the Tabriz Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, in the northwestern city of Tabriz, the South Korean diplomat said areas of cooperation between Iran and South Korea are limited to importing oil and exporting electronics and automobiles to Iran, Tasnim News Agency reported.
He further emphasized that the two countries should try to expand their relations in various areas more than ever.
“I will do my best to strengthen Iran-Korea relations,” Ryu said, adding, “We are in a difficult situation but we are trying to improve these relations.”
In 2011, before the sanctions, Iran-South Korea annual bilateral trade amounted to $20 billion, he said.
Unfortunately, the envoy added, it now stands at less than $7 billion, which is why Korean companies have reduced their workforce and staff. Small- and medium-sized companies were forced to leave Iran, but we need to help these relationships grow.
The remarks came against the backdrop of increased tensions between Iran and the US, with Washington imposing new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The US has ratcheted up pressure on Iran since last year after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Since then, the administration of US President Donald Trump is trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero,” and has sent an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber squad, an amphibious assault ship, and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to try to stack up pressure on Tehran.
Iranian officials, however, have dismissed such moves as psychological warfare, saying the country has its own ways of circumventing the American bans and selling crude oil.