Iran and South Korea expected to sign several trade deals
May 2, Seoul: President of South Korea Park Geun-hye has arrived in Iran with a large group of business leaders for a visit during which both the countries are expected to sign several trade deals worth billions of dollars.
Park, along with several ministers, met Iran's President Hassan Rouhani at an official welcoming ceremony in the capital Tehran and held meetings with Iranian officials, media reports said.
Iran's official state news agency IRNA said that more than 230 business executives accompanied Park.
The two leaders had already signed several agreements Al Jazeera reports said. A number of cooperation deals, trade deals, energy deals have been signed.
Iran and North Korea, the South's main foe, are allies. Tehran and Pyongyang have long been suspected of being close partners in developing weapons technology.
North Korea was handed tougher UN sanctions for its fourth nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch earlier this year. Iran has denied seeking atomic weapons, insisting its nuclear programme is for purely civilian purposes like power generation and medical research.
Iran has been seeking to integrate into the global financial system and improve ties with other countries since its own nuclear-related sanctions were lifted in January under a landmark deal with world powers.
Energy-hungry South Korea, the world's fifth largest importer of crude oil, used to be one of the biggest buyers of Iranian oil, but imports plummeted as a result of sanctions, according to reports.
IRNA said trade between the two countries was currently at $6.1bn, and that Tehran would like to boost that to $17.4bn, a level last reached in 2011, before the sanctions were imposed.
The Oslo Times