3 Firms in Seoul Subject to U.S. Sanctions Against Iran

      August 19, 2010 09:56

      The U.S. on Tuesday issued an updated blacklist of 150 organizations subject to sanctions against Iran. The list includes three firms in Korea -- the Seoul branch of Bank Mellat, the Korean branch of Iranian Petrochemical Company and CISCO Shipping Company.

      The list was originally drawn up in 2008 when the U.S. issued an executive order to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The latest regulations stipulate that anyone who has dealings with the organizations on the list will be put at a disadvantage.

      A government official on Wednesday said, "Now that it has become clear who are U.S.'s sanctions targets, Korean firms will suffer if they have transactions with Iranian firms on the list."

      The Iran Sanctions Act bans foreign companies from dealing with U.S. banks and opening new accounts if they have dealings with the firms on the list.

      Washington has already asked Korea to shut down Bank Mellat's Seoul office, presenting officials here with a headache since big Korean firms, especially builders, have extensive business in Iran.

      A diplomatic source said since the act took effect on July 1, transactions between Bank Mellat's Seoul office and major Korean companies and banks were already suspended, "but it's up to the Korean government to decide on whether to close it down, whatever U.S. law says."

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