TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s international minister informed a visiting South Korean delegation Monday that the discharge of its vessel and crew seized by Iranian forces is a matter for the courts and out of the federal government’s fingers, state media reported.
The event comes amid an escalating monetary dispute between the international locations.
The official IRNA information company quoted Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying in a gathering with South Korea’s first vice international minister that the Iranian authorities can’t intervene within the case, which is “below evaluation within the authorized and judicial framework,” he mentioned.
The South Korean-flagged tanker seizure by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Jan. 5 within the essential Strait of Hormuz got here as Iranian officers have been urgent South Korea to launch some $7 billion in belongings tied up within the nation’s banks as a result of American sanctions. Iran was apparently searching for to extend its leverage over Seoul forward of South Korea’s pre-scheduled regional journey, which included a cease in Qatar.
Zarif on Monday reiterated the federal government’s declare that the vessel was confiscated by Iran over “environmental air pollution.” However he urged South Korea to take away the restrictions on the Iranian funds, calling the frozen belongings the “greatest barrier” to enhancing relations between the 2 nations.
“We’ve got repeatedly informed the Korean aspect that politicizing the case wouldn’t assist resolve the case,” Iranian International Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh mentioned. He mentioned South Korean officers may assign an lawyer to deal with its case and current proof in court docket.
Iran maintains the tanker and its 20-member crew had been stopped within the mouth of the Persian Gulf due to the vessel’s “environmental air pollution” however its proprietor has rejected the declare. The crew, together with sailors from Indonesia, Myanmar, South Korea and Vietnam, stay in custody on the port metropolis of Bandar Abbas close to the Strait of Hormuz.
South Korean First Vice International Minister Choi Jong-kun and his delegation arrived in Tehran on Sunday to debate the discharge of the Korean vessel and the frozen Iranian belongings.
Iranian central financial institution chief Abdolnasser Hemmati mentioned his nation wouldn’t settle for South Korea resorting to U.S. sanctions as the rationale for persevering with to carry the Iranian funds.
“I informed the South Korean delegation that Iran doesn’t settle for their pretexts,” mentioned Hemmati, in accordance with Iranian media. He mentioned Iran has recovered sources in different international locations, with out naming any.
Hemmati mentioned he believed the South Korean delegation was decided to resolve the issue.
In current weeks, Hemmati has complained that Iran was struggling to switch some $220 million held in South Korean banks to pay for COVID-19 vaccines via COVAX, a world program designed to distribute coronavirus vaccines to taking part international locations.
The ship seizure was the newest in a collection of escalations within the waning days of the administration of President Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from Tehran’s nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions that the settlement had suspended. Iran has ramped up uranium enrichment ranges at Fordo, its key underground nuclear facility, bringing the nation a technical step away from weapons-grade purity ranges of 90%.