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‘Right time to revitalize Iran-Korea economic, cultural ties’

Iranian Embassy suggests ways to strengthen people-to-people contact, revitalize economic relations

Representatives from the Iran Embassy and The Korea Herald discuss Iran-Korea bilateral relations and media cooperation at The Korea Herald office in Yongsan-gu on June 8. (Sanjay Kumar/ The Korea Herald)
Representatives from the Iran Embassy and The Korea Herald discuss Iran-Korea bilateral relations and media cooperation at The Korea Herald office in Yongsan-gu on June 8. (Sanjay Kumar/ The Korea Herald)
Iran and South Korea should revitalize economic and cultural relations and prepare for strengthening future bilateral cooperation, Iranian Ambassador Saeed Badamchi Shabestari and The Korea Herald CEO Choi Jin-young said during a meeting on June 8.

Links between the two countries go back 1,000 years to the time of Persia and Silla, the ancient kingdoms of Iran and South Korea, respectively. The long-standing relationship is symbolized in the street names of Teheran-ro in Seoul and Seoul Street in Tehran, the ambassador said.

“The two countries are celebrating a meaningful 60 years of diplomatic ties this year,” Shabestari said, adding that Iran has a deep interest in boosting Iran-Korea media relations and solidifying people-to-people contact.

“The Korea Herald is a known newspaper in Iran, and it can play a significant and historic role in this regard,” he said.

Stressing the need for further Iran-Korea economic cooperation, Shabestari said that while most Korean investments in Iran have been focused on energy and infrastructure, new areas offering abundant opportunities for Korean companies are rising in Iran.
Iran’s Ambassador to South Korea Saeed Badamchi Shabestari (left), and The Korea Herald CEO Choi Jin-young exchange views during a courtesy visit to the Herald Corp. headquarters in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul, June 8. (Sanjay Kumar /The Korea Herald)
Iran’s Ambassador to South Korea Saeed Badamchi Shabestari (left), and The Korea Herald CEO Choi Jin-young exchange views during a courtesy visit to the Herald Corp. headquarters in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul, June 8. (Sanjay Kumar /The Korea Herald)
More firsthand reporting about the Middle East in Korean media reports is needed, Shabestari said.

“There is a need for news coverage through direct sources between the two countries, rather than using news sources of third countries while reporting on Iran, the Middle East and Korea,” the Iranian ambassador said.

Choi said that in the 1970s, many Koreans went to Iran and the Middle East for employment.

“The old generation of Koreans still seems to have ample consciousness, memories and gratitude to Iran and the Middle East as a whole,” Choi said. He added that there is also a need to create awareness and strengthen people-to-people contact among millennials and Generation Z, those born between 1980 and 1995.
Iran’s Ambassador to South Korea Saeed Badamchi Shabestari (right), shakes hands with The Korea Herald CEO Choi Jin-young during a courtesy visit to the Herald Corp. headquarters in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul, June 8. (Sanjay Kumar /The Korea Herald)
Iran’s Ambassador to South Korea Saeed Badamchi Shabestari (right), shakes hands with The Korea Herald CEO Choi Jin-young during a courtesy visit to the Herald Corp. headquarters in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul, June 8. (Sanjay Kumar /The Korea Herald)
“Most Koreans seek peace, and endorse the idea of global citizenship and hope for amicable relations with Iran,” Choi said.

“The existence of Teheran-ro in Gangnam -- a modern center for Koreans -- is a significant achievement, and steps like this shall be renewed and expanded to other regions.”

Choi stated that numerous raw materials and resources from Iran and the Middle East could be utilized for the development of Korean industries.

“I think Iran needs Korea’s economic investment, and Korea needs a supply of Iranian oil, natural gas and access to the commodity market,” Choi said.

By Sanjay Kumar (sanjaykumar@heraldcorp.com)
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