The South Korean government team will return home without much outcome after discussions with Iranian figures to release a South Korean ship seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong-gun met with Iranian high-ranking officials, such as Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, from January 10 to 12 to discuss the release of a South Korean tanker seized by Iran and the payments of seven billion dollars for Iranian crude oil frozen by South Korean banks. The ministry said Vice Minister Choi demanded Iran to present evidence for the seized ship’s marine pollution as the country has not released any evidence since it seized the vessel over a week ago.
Iran has maintained the existing stance that the seizure of a vessel is a technical issue that requires judicial judgment and the priority of negotiations should be on the frozen assets. “We do not want the U.S.’s inhumane international traducing sanctions to affect the bilateral relations between South Korea and Iran,” said Mojtaba Zonnour, a former high-ranking member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the current chairman of the Nuclear Subcommittee of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in the Islamic Consultative Assembly, calling for the resolution of the issue of frozen assets.
Choi will return to South Korea on Thursday through Qatar from Iran. The government will continue to discuss the release of the ship through communication channels with the Iranian counterpart.
Hyun-Seok Lim email@example.com