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  • S Korea to press US for extending Iran sanctions waiver

    TEHRAN, Mar. 26 (MNA) – South Korean government officials are expected to press for extending a sanctions waiver on Iran’s petroleum exports that expires in May on a visit to Washington this week.

    South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Yoon Kang-hyun and other leaders will meet with US State Department officials on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the waiver issued in November to keep buying Iranian oil in exchange for having reduced such purchases, the Seoul government said in a news release on Monday.

    Washington issued sanctions waivers for eight economies in November, including for South Korea, Iran’s fourth largest oil customer in Asia. But the administration has said it wants the exports to go to zero as quickly as possible, Reuters news agency reported.

    The US goal is to reduce the number of sanctions waivers and to cut Iran’s oil exports about 20 percent, to below 1 million barrels of oil per day from May, sources said this month.

    The South Korean officials will meet with the State Department’s top energy diplomat Francis Fannon on Thursday. On Wednesday they will meet with Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, and David Peyman, the deputy assistant secretary of state for counter threat finance and sanctions.

    A State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the meeting with Peyman. Officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the other meetings.

    Peyman met with South Korean officials in Asia earlier this month. He offered “to continue to closely consult on the extension of sanctions exemption and Korean companies’ technical issues regarding trade with Iran,” a statement from Seoul’s foreign ministry said at the time.

    South Korea is the fourth largest buyer of a light oil called condensates from Iran.

    MA/PR