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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

South Korean diplomat in Iran over seized ship, frozen funds

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,” a declare rejected by the vessel’s proprietor. 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.

A South Korean diplomat primarily based in Iran met one of many crew members, a South Korean, final week, in keeping with South Korean International Ministry Spokesman Choi Younger-sam. The crew member informed the diplomat he and 19 different sailors had been all had been protected and didn’t endure any mistreatment. South Korea has requested that Iran present proof to again up its declare that the South Korean ship violated environmental protocols, he added.

Diplomats from Iran and Myanmar, which had 11 residents on the ship, had been individually assembly in Delhi, India to barter the discharge of the Burmese sailors aboard, in keeping with semi-official ISNA information company.

Iran’s state-run media introduced First Vice International Minister Choi Jong-kun’s arrival with a photograph displaying him assembly along with his Iranian counterpart. It wasn’t clear how lengthy the go to would final.

The South Korean delegation, together with representatives from Seoul’s Central Financial institution, had been set on Monday to satisfy Iran’s Central Financial institution chief Abdolnasser Hemmati to debate the trapped funds, semi-official Mehr information company reported. In latest 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 nations.

“It’s our pure proper to have the ability to use this cash,” Hemmati was quoted as saying on Sunday. “We hope that the American strain may even lower.”

The ship seizure was the most recent 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. Final week, Iran 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%.

Related Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea and Isabel DeBre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed to this report.

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