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. Iran steps up trade reprisals against SKorea: report
TEHRAN (AFP) Nov 21, 2005
An Iranian paper said Monday it had been told not to carry advertisements for South Korean products in the latest move against Seoul over its stance on Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

The editor of the newspaper, who asked not to be identified, said Iran's Supreme National Security Council had given the order "without any explanation".

"It is to warn South Korea ahead of the IAEA meeting," another editor on the paper said, referring to Thursday's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors.

However two other editors contacted by AFP insisted they had received no such order, while at least three other dailies -- including the mass-selling Hamshahri and Jam-e Jam papers -- were Monday carrying the usual advertisements for South Korean cars and electrical goods.

Seoul has become the focus of Iranian anger after it voted in favour of an IAEA resolution in September that paved the way for Tehran to be brought before the UN Security Council over its nuclear activities.

Washington accuses the Islamic republic of developing a nuclear bomb under cover of a civilian nuclear programme, charges strenuously denied by Iran.

Iran has already imposed sanctions against South Korea and Britain, with diplomats reporting an "unwritten directive" in the commerce ministry that has halted the issuing of import permits for products from those countries.

This prompted a visit to Tehran in October by South Korea's deputy foreign minister Lee Kyu-Hyung, who was simply told there was no ban.

But the regime had vowed to punish its trade partners if they voted for the resolution, which chastised Iran for being in "non-compliance" with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

It remains unclear why Iran appears to be only picking on South Korea and Britain, given that both are lose US allies are unlikely to change their stance on the nuclear issue. Some 20 other countries also backed the IAEA resolution.

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