April 6 According to South Korean media reports, in response to the arrest of the South Korean transport ship Korean Chemical, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Said Khatibuzad said on the 5th local time that the relevant investigation work is in a direction that helps the captain and the ship, and the Ministry of Justice is also actively solving the relevant problems.
On January 4, the Korean transport ship “Korean Chemical”, which departed from Saudi Arabia for the United Arab Emirates, was detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran in the Persian Gulf. The ship carried 20 people, including 5 Korean crew members. South Korean media believe that the arrest of the ship is related to South Korea’s freezing of Iran’s assets in South Korea; Iran said that South Korea should avoid “politicizing” the arrest of ships due to marine pollution.
Hatibzad said that South Korea sincerely asked Iran to release the detained ship, and the captain of the ship did not have a criminal record. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has submitted its opinions on the case to the Ministry of Justice, which will make a final decision.
On the other hand, South Korean media reported that South Korean Prime Minister Ding Shijun will visit Iran in recent days to solve problems such as Iran’s detention of South Korean ships and the release of captains. In response, Hatibzad said that Iran welcomes the visit of the South Korean Prime Minister and hopes to use this opportunity to solve the problem of the freezing of Iraqi funds in South Korea.
The U.S. government unilaterally withdrew from the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue in May 2018, and then restarted and added a series of sanctions against Iran. As a result, two South Korean banks have frozen about $7 billion of Iranian assets since September 2019. Iran has asked South Korea several times not to freeze Iranian funds in South Korea because of U.S. sanctions.