The U.S. has made clear that it opposes the release of Iranian assets frozen in South Korea unless Tehran returns to full compliance with the nuclear deal.
Speaking at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would "do the same thing," meaning sanctions relief if Iran comes back into compliance with its nuclear obligations.
But, he said, it won't be getting the relief until it does that.
Currently, Iranian assets, said to be worth around 7 billion U.S. dollars, are frozen in South Korea under the sanctions.
And apparently to pressure Seoul to unfreeze the money, Iran seized a South Korean-flagged ship in the Persian Gulf in January.
Seoul's foreign ministry has reached some form of agreement with Tehran so that part of the assets can be used, possibly through the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement, but making that actually happen would require consultations with the U.S. and other related countries.
"We have been continuing, and will continue our talks with related countries, including the U.S., and the international community on the Iranian frozen assets in South Korea."
The matter largely depends on the prospects of Washington and Iran resuming their nuclear talks, known as JCPOA.
The Biden administration has pledged to return to the 2015 deal that the Trump administration walked away from while urging Iran to return to full compliance.
Iran, however, wants the U.S. to remove the sanctions first.
"Regarding the issues related to Iran, Seoul's foreign affairs minister could discuss the issue with his American counterpart Antony Blinken when he visits Seoul next week.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News."