Iran Releases Seized South Korean Tanker: Seoul Foreign Ministry
Sumaira FH 6 days ago Fri 09th April 2021 | 09:30 AM
Seoul, April 9 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 9th Apr, 2021 ) :Iran on Friday released a South Korean-flagged tanker it seized amid a dispute over billions in frozen oil funds, and the vessel's captain, the foreign ministry in Seoul said.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the Hankuk Chemi and its multinational crew of 20 sailors in January, but South Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement that its detention had been lifted and "the ship departed safely today".
Ship-tracking websites showed the 147-metre-long (482-foot) vessel under way at 9 knots and heading for the Strait of Hormuz.
- Vienna meeting - Tehran agreed a multinational deal known as the JCPOA to curtail its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief in 2015, but the accord was thrown into disarray three years later when the United States pulled out under then-president Donald Trump.
But Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month signalled Washington would be opposed to releasing the funds blocked in South Korea unless the Islamic republic returned to full compliance with the nuclear agreement.
South Korea's foreign ministry made no mention of the money in its statement Friday.
No one at the vessel's operator, DM shipping, was immediately available for comment.
Tehran has repeatedly denied that the seizure of the vessel was linked to the funds issue.
The Hankuk Chemi incident was the first seizure of a major vessel by Iran's naval forces in more than a year.
At the time it was widely seen as a tit-for-tat move after authorities in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar detained an Iranian tanker and later released it, despite US objections.
Tehran denied the two cases were related.
The Guards seized at least six other ships in 2019 over alleged fuel smuggling.