Iran, South Korea Discuss Boosting Ties

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran and South Korea on Thursday held talks in Seoul on enhancing two-way cooperation in light of international negotiations aimed at clinching a long-awaited deal over Tehran's nuclear energy program.

Iran, South Korea Discuss Boosting Ties

The annual policy meeting, led by Kwon Hee-seog, director-general of the Africa and Middle East affairs bureau, and his Iranian counterpart, Abdolrassoul Mohajer, came just weeks before the June 30 target date for the nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 (China, Russia, US, Britain, France, and Germany).

At the start of the session, the diplomats talked briefly about the recent outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea. The viral disease has claimed the lives of nine people in South Korea and infected more than a hundred others.

After the first few minutes, which were open to media, they went into closed-door talks, Yonhap News reported.

Once the nuclear deal is sealed, Iran will be able access its oil money in banks in Europe and other parts of the world valued at tens of billions of US dollars.

Much of that cash is expected to be invested in building infrastructure in Iran, where South Korean firms could win major construction projects.

South Korea hopes to secure a foothold in the oil-rich nation before the sanctions are lifted, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Talks have been underway to arrange visits to Iran by South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong and Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun in the coming weeks, the official said. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se could also plan a trip to Iran following the nuclear deal.

Mohajer is also scheduled to meet with Kim during his stay in Seoul.

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