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Iran releases seized South Korean tanker Hankuk Chemi

In a press launch Friday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry stated the Hankuk Chemi and its captain have been freed early Friday Iranian time. The captain and crew’s well being was sound — as was the cargo, the ministry stated.

Iran seized the tanker at sea in January, accusing it of polluting the waters with chemical substances and holding the vessel within the port of Bandar Abbas.

Its launch comes after South Korea promised to attempt to safe the discharge of Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks underneath US sanctions, a South Korean official informed Reuters.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed the ship’s launch following the conclusion of an investigation and on the request of its proprietor and the South Korean authorities, in line with state news company IRNA.

“Iran, with long coastlines in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, stresses full compliance with maritime regulations, including environmental protection, and monitors every violation in this respect,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, a international ministry spokesman, was quoted as saying.

He stated the the Iranian determination to launch the captain had taken into consideration that he had no report of previous violations within the area.

The concern triggered a diplomatic dispute after Iran demanded that South Korea launch $7 billion in funds frozen in South Korean banks underneath US sanctions.

A South Korean Foreign Ministry official informed reporters Friday that either side had agreed the ship and the funds weren’t associated points and South Korea promised to assist get the cash launched.

“We have expressed our firm willingness to resolve the fund issue,” stated the official, who declined to be recognized.

The South Korean ministry stated in a press release the ship had left Iran after finishing administrative procedures. It made no point out of the demand for the discharge of funds.

“The captain and sailors are in good health,” the ministry stated.

South Korea stated the vessel didn’t trigger any air pollution. The ministry official stated Iran dropped a plan to pursue search legal expenses in opposition to the transport firm.

Iran has denied allegations that the seizure of the tanker and its crew constituted hostage-taking, saying it was South Korea that was holding Iranian funds hostage.

The freezing of the funds is linked to US sanctions that Washington reimposed on Tehran in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear cope with world powers.

Under the Biden administration, the United States and Iran have begun oblique talks over a return to the accord.

The United States has lately agreed to permit Iran to make use of the funds for non-military functions and it has spent some on coronavirus vaccines secured through the worldwide COVAX initiative, the ministry official stated, with out giving a exact quantity.

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