Stars and Stripes stripes.com 11 Jan, 2021 09:00 am

South Korean diplomats in Iran over seized ship, frozen funds

South Korean diplomats in Iran over seized ship, frozen funds
Iran maintains the tanker and its 20-member crew were stopped in the mouth of the Persian Gulf because of the vessel's "environmental pollution," a claim rejected by the vessel's owner.

South Korean diplomats in Iran over seized ship, frozen funds In this Monday, Jan.TASNIM NEWS AGENCY/AP TEHRAN, Iran — A South Korean diplomatic delegation arrived in Iran on Sunday to negotiate the release of a vessel and its crew seized by Iranian forces amid an escalating financial dispute between the countries, Iranian state-run media reported.A South Korean diplomat based in Iran met one of the crew members, a South Korean, last week, according to South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman Choi Young-sam.South Korea has requested that Iran provide evidence to back up its claim that the South Korean ship violated environmental protocols, he added.

The South Korean delegation, including representatives from Seoul's Central Bank, were set on Monday to meet Iran's Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati to discuss the trapped funds, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.In recent weeks, Hemmati has complained that Iran was struggling to transfer some $220 million held in South Korean banks to pay for COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, an international program designed to distribute coronavirus vaccines to participating countries.

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