Atlanta, United States (CNN) — Iran has imposed a ban on the import of home appliances from South Korea, but Seoul said its two largest exporters, Samsung and LG, have not exported products to Iran due to US sanctions.
And a letter issued by the Iranian presidential chief of staff, Gholamhossein Esmaili, to the foreign minister on Wednesday said that household appliances from South Korea are “strictly prohibited from entering the country.”
In an earlier message issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to President Ibrahim Raisi, he said that the import of Korean household products should be stopped after local producers asked the leader to protect their markets.
The South Korean Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Friday that no direct damage is expected to South Korean companies after the Iranian decision.
“Our companies (LG and Samsung) did not export household appliances to Iran due to US sanctions against Iran,” the ministry added.
The ministry added that it will cooperate to restore economic relations with Iran by expanding humanitarian trade, amid a sharp decline in trade between the two countries due to US sanctions.
The Iranian government has repeatedly said that South Korea has frozen $7 billion of Iranian funds currently held in South Korean banks.
On Friday, the semi-official Mehr news agency said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian called his South Korean counterpart and criticized South Korean banks for refusing to return Iranian assets.
South Korean products appear to have reduced their presence in the Iranian market in 2020, prompting former Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi to issue a warning in February 2020 against companies from exiting the market.
“Some foreign companies in recent years and months accepted the American bullying and left (the market), but the return will be very difficult,” Mousavi said.