Iran Sanctions and South Korea
Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons has emerged to be one of the key foreign policy priorities of the Obama administration. Despite efforts among Western powers to form a united front in trying to pressure Iran to become more transparent with its nuclear program, questions remain regarding Tehrans intentions, and talk of war has become increasingly louder in Western media.
In an effort to resolve the issue, President Obama increased the pressure on Iran on December 31 2011, by signing into law the 2012 National Defense Authorization act, a move which laid the groundwork for a policy banning any state from transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. The policy in effect prohibits the signing or continuation of oil contracts with Iran and any third country or company that wants to continue to deal with the U.S.
As a close ally of the U.S. and a country with a clear commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, South Korea has a strong impetus to go along with international efforts to reduce oil imports from Iran. However, being an energy importing country that obtains nearly ten per cent of its oil supplies from Iran each year, South Korea is in a difficult position.
In an effort to better understand the situation and choices that Seoul now faces, Korean Kontext spoke to
– Dr. Matthew Kroenig, Stanton Nuclear Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
– Dr. Balbina Hwang, Visiting Professor at the National Defense University / Georgetown University
– Philip Yun, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Ploughshares Fund
– Tim Boersma, Fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Academy
Join us for a stimulating discussion on the complexities of the sanctions situation, South Korea’s bilateral relations with Iran, and how North Korea impacts on the decision making process.