April 23, 2019 / 10:52 AM / 6 months ago

South Korea to send delegation to U.S. for talks on Iran sanction waivers

SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean delegation will head to Washington as early as this week for talks with U.S. officials after the United States announced plans to end all Iran sanction waivers, two South Korean government officials said on Tuesday.

South Korea, a major buyer of Iranian oil, was among seven countries that won exemptions from U.S. sanctions late last year. It allowed South Korea to buy limited amounts of Iranian oil, mainly condensate — an ultra-light form of crude oil used for petrochemical products.

The Foreign Ministry said on Monday Seoul would make every effort to convey its position until next month’s deadline when the United States said it will not grant any waivers on imports of Iranian oil beyond May 1.

The delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Yoon Kang-hyun will seek more details on the U.S. decision, said the officials who declined to be named.

“As we have some time until the May deadline, we’re planning to try to see if we can persuade the U.S. government to extend waivers,” one official said.

Trade ministry officials met with petrochemical producers in Seoul on Tuesday to weigh the potential impact of the U.S. decision and find ways to minimize the impact by sourcing oil imports from elsewhere.

Reporting By Jane Chung; editing by Darren Schuettler

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