Iran warns of possible embargo on Korean imports
Iran may halt all Korean imports in protest against Seoul's decision to ban Iranian oil following European Union sanctions against the Middle East nation, Iran's top envoy here warned Wednesday.
Iranian Ambassador Ahmad Masumifar said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency that his country "may decide to fully stop importing Korean goods" if Seoul imposes the import ban on Iranian oil.
He also said that Seoul's measure will provide "serious obstacles" to Korean businesses' exports to his country.
The warning comes after Korea decided to halt oil imports from Iran as the European Union's sanctions on insurance for Iranian oil shipments are set to take effect from July 1. Currently, European firms cover 100 percent of protection and indemnity insurance on all Iranian oil shipments to Korea.
The Iranian envoy said some Asian countries are taking measures to continue oil imports from the Middle East nation.
Last week, Japan's parliament approved a bill providing $7.6 billion of state guarantees for shipments of oil from Iran to cover insurance to be axed by the European insurers.
Korea purchased 9.4 percent, or about 87 million barrels, of all its oil imports from Iran last year.
Iran is Korea's third-largest market in the Middle East with exports to the country soaring 32 percent on-year to US$6.07 billion in 2011.
Korea's shipments to Iran also jumped 40.5 percent on-year to $2.9 billion in the first five months of this year.(Yonhap)