Lack of political will caused Iran's assets' freeze by S.Korea: Araghchi

Tehran (IP) - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister said in Tehran's view, the blocking of Iran's foreign exchange resources in South Korea has been due to Seoul's lack of political will, rather than due to the US sanctions.

Iran PressIran News: South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong Kun, who is in Tehran, met with Iranian Political Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi on Sunday.

Last Monday, Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) seized the MT Hankuk Chemi carrying 20 crew members, including five South Koreans, on environmental pollution allegations. The ship is currently at a port in Bandar Abbas, a city on Iran's southern coast. The South Korean Embassy in Tehran confirmed the safety and health of all 20 sailors Wednesday.

The Iranian deputy foreign minister noted that the Korean banks had been illegally blocking Iran's currency reserves for about two and a half years.

He referred to the failed negotiations between the two countries. He pointed out that South Korea and Iran's ties will get improved only when the Korean government solves its submission to US bullying. 

Still, in response to the Korean official's asking Iran to solve the issue of the tanker seized, Araghchi pointed out that the seizure of the Korean ship in the Persian Gulf and Iranian waters is only a measure based on technical considerations and due to environmental pollution, adding that the Iranian judiciary issue has started the investigation of the case.

The Iranian deputy foreign minister also advised the Korean side to refrain from politicizing the issue and fruitless propaganda and to allow the legal proceedings in the relevant court to proceed peacefully.

South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister also said that his visit to Tehran showed the importance of developing relations with Iran and added that providing Iran with access to its financial resources in South Korea is one of the priorities of the South Korean government, and Seoul is determined to pursue the issue until a final solution is found.

First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-Kun left for Iran on Sunday to negotiate an early release of the South Korean oil tanker and its crew seized by Iranian authorities last week.

"I'm a little relieved to know that the crew is safe, but the situation is serious," Choi told reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, before leaving his country for Tehran.


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