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Fate of seized South Korean tanker, crew out of Iran’s fingers, says overseas minister

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Jan 12, 2021

The launch of South Korea’s seized oil tanker and its crew is now a matter of the courts and out of the fingers of the Iranian authorities, Iran’s overseas minister stated Monday. The determination is the most recent in a rising monetary dispute between Tehran and Seoul ignited by US sanctions.

Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by state information company IRNA as saying the choice to a South Korean delegation that had visited Tehran on Monday to press for the discharge of the tanker and its crew.

The case, Zarif was quoted as saying, is now beneath assessment “within the framework of legal and judicial regulations.” Instead, Iran’s high overseas diplomat flipped the script and urged South Korea to take away obstacles that will impede Iran’s entry to monetary assets.

A South Korea delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-Kun, arrived in Tehran this week to resolve tensions after the seizure of a South Korean-flagged oil tanker and its crew within the Strait of Hormuz on Jan. 4.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) cited environmental issues when it initially seized the vessel, however the move fueled hypothesis that it was a tactical determination by the regime to pressure South Korea to unblock about $7 billion in Iranian oil gross sales held due to US banking restrictions in opposition to Iran. The ship is now anchored in Iran’s port metropolis of Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has since pressed Seoul to give up the funds.

“If anyone is a hostage-taker, it’s South Korea’s government, which has taken hostage more than $7 billion of our revenues for no reason,” authorities spokesperson Ali Rabiei stated throughout a digital information convention final Tuesday.

South Korea, among the many world’s high 5 crude oil importers, had been considered one of Iran’s high oil prospects earlier than agreeing to halt purchases in May 2020 beneath strain from Washington. Since then, Tehran has continued to press Seoul to launch the frozen belongings.

This is just not the primary time Iran has used the tactic of seizing a foreign-flagged oil tanker within the area. In July 2019, the IRGC took management of a British-flagged tanker, allegedly over breaking maritime rules. In one other incident in August 2020, the US navy stated that Iran detained a Liberian-flagged tanker.

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