February 12, 2014 / 6:56 AM / in 4 years

CORRECTED-South Korea set to make oil payment to Iran - source

(Corrects fifth paragraph to earlier this month, not last month)

By Yena Park

SEOUL, Feb 12 (Reuters) - South Korea is set to become the second Asian nation to make a payment to Iran for crude imports under an interim nuclear deal that has provided limited sanctions relief, a banking source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Iranian central bank has a total of about $4.7 billion to $5.6 billion in South Korea in two won-denominated accounts, one at Woori Bank and the other at Industrial Bank of Korea as of late 2013, according to a second source.

The two sources declined to be named as the issue is sensitive. The first source said the payment to Tehran was expected to be made in early March, but did not specify the amount.

Bank of Korea and South Korean finance ministry officials contacted by Reuters said no decisions had been made about money transfers to Iran.

Earlier this month, Japan became the first of Iran’s oil buyers to make a payment for crude imports under the interim nuclear deal, after the West eased a year-long stranglehold on revenues that has crippled the Iranian economy. One source confirmed the Japanese payment was $550 million.

Under a Nov. 24 agreement with six major powers, Iran won limited sanctions relief including access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad by eight money-transfer schedules through July if it carries out its part of the deal.

$1 = 1070.8500 Korean won Reporting by Yena Park; Writing by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Richard Pullin

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