Middle East

Iran permits crew of seized South Korean tanker to depart on ‘humanitarian transfer’

Iran has agreed to permit crew members of a South Korean oil tanker seized final month to depart the nation on humanitarian grounds, officers mentioned on Tuesday.

“Following a request from the South Korean authorities, the crew of the Korean ship, which was arrested for polluting the setting within the Persian Gulf, has been given permission to depart the nation as a part of humanitarian motion from Iran, ”Overseas Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh instructed state media.

Authorized proceedings towards the ship and its captain will proceed, nevertheless, he added.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the Hankuk Chemi and arrested its multinational crew close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz on January 4th, saying he had polluted the waters.

“Each events… shared the view that the discharge of the sailors was an necessary first step in restoring confidence”

– assertion by the South Korean Ministry of Overseas Affairs

The event got here as Tehran urged Seoul to launch billions of {dollars} in frozen Iranian belongings in South Korea on account of US sanctions, which Washington reimposed in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump walked away. be withdrawn from the 2015 Iranian nuclear take care of the world powers.

Deputy Overseas Minister Abbas Araghchi spoke by telephone along with his South Korean counterpart Choi Jong-kun on the discharge of the crew and the difficulty of the discharge of $ 7 billion in Iranian funds.

“Either side … shared the view that the discharge of the sailors was an necessary first step in restoring confidence between the 2 international locations and they’ll work to resolve the difficulty of Iranian belongings frozen in South Korean banks.” , mentioned South Korea’s overseas ministry. A declaration.

“Choi additionally mentioned that South Korea will do what it might probably in a swift method whereas discussing consultations with the USA on the matter,” he mentioned.

Choi had met Araghchi in Tehran on January 10 with the intention to demand the discharge of the ship.

Iran has denied claims that the seizure of the tanker and its 20 crewmembers amounted to a hostage-taking, and mentioned it was Seoul that was holding Iranian funds “hostage”.

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