South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun on Tuesday called Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, welcoming Tehran’s decision and calling for his release. The captain and the ship are confiscated.
“After weeks of tough negotiations between the two countries, an agreement has been reached on the seizure of the seized Korean oil tankers,” the statement said.
The Navy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement on January 6 that a South Korean vessel, the Hankook Chimi, carrying 7,200 tons of petroleum chemicals had been seized for violating environmental protocols in the Persian Gulf. The ship had 20 sailors, five of whom were Korean.
“Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has informed us that Tehran has decided to release all sailors except the captain,” the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
Korean officials have said the ship’s captain will remain in Iran to look after the tanker, and it is unclear when the ship will be released.
The ministry is currently in talks with the ship’s operator to discuss issues related to the sailors’ release and their return home, the statement added.
The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saeed Khatibzadeh, announced today, Tuesday, following the request of the South Korean government and the assistance of the judiciary within the framework of judicial regulations, the crew of the Korean ship detained for environmental pollution in the Persian Gulf In a humanitarian move by the Islamic Republic of Iran, they received permission to leave the country.
A State Department spokesman, meanwhile, said the judicial investigation into the ship and captain’s misconduct was continuing within the framework of the law.
He said that Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi had a telephone conversation with Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choi, during which the issue of freeing Iran’s foreign exchange resources in the country as soon as possible was emphasized.
According to Khatibzadeh, the two sides discussed effective mechanisms for using these resources, and the Korean side stressed the will of the Korean government and the maximum effort to remove restrictions on these resources as soon as possible.