South Korean Diplomat In Iran Amid Tensions Over Seized Ship, Frozen Funds.

A top South Korean diplomat was in Iran on January 10 to negotiate the release of a vessel and its crew seized by Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf amid a deepening financial dispute.
South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun met with his Iranian counterpart, Abbas Araghchi, to discuss the seizure by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of the South Korean-flagged MT Hankuk Chemi on January 4 near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has said the ship was seized because it was leaking oil in violation of environmental laws. It has denied the act has anything to do with around $7 billion frozen in Iranian bank accounts in South Korea due to U.S. sanctions. "Seoul shouldn't politicize the issue and rather wait until the factual investigation of the case by the Iranian judiciary is complete," said Araghchi, according to the ISNA news agency. "For two-and-a-half years, our accounts have been frozen because of U.S. sanctions and during this time South Korea has allowed itself to be bossed around by the United States," Araghchi said, calling on Seoul to follow an independent policy. The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. South Korea was a major buyer of Iranian oil until Washington ended a sanctions waiver on the Asian economy’s imports of Iranian oil in 2019. Since then, about $7 billion of Iranian funds have sat frozen in two South Korean banks. Ahead of his departure, Choi said that he hoped to secure the early release of the tanker and 20 sailors. "I'm a little relieved to know that the crew is safe, but the situation is serious," Choi told reporters at Incheon International Airport, according to comments run by Yonhap News Agency. The South Korean news agency reported Iran wants South Korea to free the money so it can purchase medicine, medical equipment, and COVID-19 vaccines. The diplomatic visit will be a “good opportunity to clearly hear once again what the Iranian government wants and to distinguish what [we] can do and cannot do regarding the issue, as well as what needs to be consulted on with the U.S.," Choi said.


With reporting by IRNA, dpa, and Yonhap.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Calls for tighter lockdown after major study finds COVID-19 cases surge.

Calls for tighter lockdown after major study finds COVID-19 cases surge.

Scientists have warned Britain may need tougher lockdown measures after a survey found virus cases increased in January after Boris Johnson’s national lockdown was put in place. The so-called REACT study tested 142,900 volunteers between 6th-15th ...

Angela Merkel lays out Germany's coronavirus strategy - DW News.

Angela Merkel lays out Germany's coronavirus strategy - DW News.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said "we are in a difficult stage of the pandemic" in a press conference on Thursday. Germany extended its current lockdown to at least February 14 on Tuesday, reflecting the high daily infection rate and death coun...

'Is President Biden woke Prime Minister'?

'Is President Biden woke Prime Minister'?

Sky's Deputy Political Editor Sam Coates asks the Prime Minister "is President Biden woke?" Read more here: SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos: Follow us on Twitter: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Instagram: For more content go to...

Storm Christoph UK weather - Almost 300 flood alerts have been issued across Britain.

Storm Christoph UK weather - Almost 300 flood alerts have been issued across Britain.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a flood alleviation bowl and golf course which acts as a flood plain in Didsbury, Manchester. RESCUE teams have worked tirelessly over the last 24 hours saving drivers from their cars as Storm Christoph turned r...

Watch live: President Biden speaks on COVID-19 response, signs executive orders.

Watch live: President Biden speaks on COVID-19 response, signs executive orders.

Set a reminder to watch live on January 21 at 2 p.m. ET: President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on his administration’s COVID-19 response, a day after his inauguration. He is also expected to sign 10 executive orders as part of his strategy to c...

1 17

These Americans will be impacted by Biden's day 1 executive actions.

These Americans will be impacted by Biden's day 1 executive actions.

ClimateDepot.com Executive Editor Marc Morano reacts to the president’s executive orders on climate and discusses how they could affect the economy. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (F...