NPR logo After Deliberation, South Korea Decides To Impose Sanctions On Iran


After Deliberation, South Korea Decides To Impose Sanctions On Iran

South Korea is joining the U.S., Japan and the European Union with harsh new sanctions against Iran. South Korea has blacklisted 102 companies and 24 individuals who are believed to be helping Iran's efforts to gain nuclear weapons.

A woman walks past a signboard of Bank Mellat, an Iranian state-run commercial bank, outside its Seoul branch. Park Ji-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Park Ji-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images

Interestingly, one of the key corporations hit is the Seoul Branch of Bank Mellat, one of the Iranian bank’s few foreign branches. It handles some 70 percent of South Korean exports to Iran, which are quite extensive; trade between the two countries was $9.6 billion last year. South Korea sells electronics and cars, technical and financial services, as well as construction. Iran supplies South Korea with 10 percent of its oil.

South Korea did not come to this decision easily, weighing their close alliance with the U.S. with their growing business and oil ties with Iran. Iran has warned that by joining the sanctions regime South Korea threatens those ties.

Also today, wire reports say Iran has suspended a sentence of stoning against a woman accused of adultery. The case has brought a storm of international criticism. Today, the European Parliament called it "barbaric."