Zarif: Iran may take legal action to get blocked money back
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic will use every possible method, including taking legal action if needed, to get back its money, which has been unlawfully blocked by certain countries under direct pressure from Washington.
Zarif made the remarks on Monday in an interview with the Iranian Parliament’s official ICANA news agency while explaining measures taken by the Foreign Ministry so far to reclaim the blocked money in foreign banks.
Stressing that there are different ways to return the money through barter or purchase of goods from abroad, Zarif said, “Various methods have been determined over the past few years to get back our money from other countries and we will use them.”
The top Iranian diplomat went on to say that, “We are negotiating the return of our country's blocked money, and if necessary, we will pursue this issue through legal action in the courts.”
In response to a question about whether Tehran has been successful in fulfilling some of its financial claims from other countries, Zarif said, “In some cases, yes, some countries have returned some of our money.”
During the past months, Iranian authorities have been pressing South Korea to release between $6.5 billion and $9 billion in frozen funds so that Tehran could use them for the purchase of basic goods.
Vice-Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Amir-Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi said in July that it was a source of regret and surprise that the South Korean government was blocking the Iranian nation’s money under the US pressure.
Qazizadeh Hashemi slammed Seoul's “rude” behavior that shows South Korea is not committed to any ethical or legal principle, adding that Iran has issued an official warning to the government of South Korea over its “unacceptable” and “unjustifiable” move to block the Islamic Republic’s oil money.
South Korea is violating another nation’s rights under pressure by the bullies at the White House, he said, urging the Iranian Foreign Ministry to actively pursue the return of the money.
Moreover, Iran's government spokesman Ali Rabiei called on South Korea late last month to abandon its “illegal” policies and release the Iranian assets that it has frozen due to the US sanctions so that Tehran can step up its fight against a deadly coronavirus outbreak.
The Iranian official also expressed regret that South Korea has so far failed to fulfill its promises and implement a mechanism that would make it possible for Iran to use its financial resources.
The release of the funds would enable Tehran to purchase medicine and medical equipment needed to fight the pandemic.
A total of 328,844 people have so far contracted the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country. Over 18,616 have also lost their lives to the virus, according to official figures.