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South Korea dispatches anti-piracy unit after Iran seizes oil tanker

Jan 4, 2021

Iran has seized a South Korean-flagged oil tanker within the Persian Gulf over environmental issues, the Islamic Innovative Guard Corps (IRGC) stated on Monday amid mounting tensions with Washington over Tehran’s nuclear actions. 

The semi-official Tasnim news agency printed photographs of the vessel, known as the Hankuk Chemi, which the outlet stated turned into transporting 7,200 hundreds ethanol ahead of the IRGC’s naval forces intercepted it at 10 a.m. native time Monday. 

“The South Korean tanker turned into stopped within the waters of the Persian Gulf [for] environmental pollution and after neglecting warnings,” the IRGC Navy stated in a commentary, accusing the vessel of “violating environmental protocols typically” since departing from the Saudi port of Al Jubail. 

The Hankuk Chemi turned into then escorted to Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas for “extra action,” the commentary stated. Iranian authorities moreover arrested the vessel’s crew, which included participants from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.  

South Korea’s International Ministry called on Monday for the tanker’s immediate beginning and stated anti-piracy forces had been sent to the home. 

“The protection ministry straight away dispatched the Cheonghae unit to waters discontinuance to the Strait of Hormuz almost at present after receiving a characterize on the peril of Iran’s seizure of our industrial vessel,” the ministry stated in a commentary.

Ties between Tehran and Seoul are strained over $7 billion in Iranian sources currently held up in South Korean banks attributable to US sanctions. Iranian International Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh stated a excessive-ranking South Korean official will check with Tehran later this week to discuss in regards to the frozen funds, Al Jazeera experiences. 

“We hope this shuttle would perchance maybe presumably be an terminate to the slowness of this route of,” Khatibzadeh stated Monday. 

The Donald Trump administration reimposed bright financial sanctions on Iran in 2018 after leaving at the assist of the landmark nuclear deal struck between Iran, the US and other world powers in 2015. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the agreement, known as the Joint Complete Opinion of Action, if Iran returns to strict compliance. 

Tehran, which insists its nuclear program is former appropriate for aloof capabilities, has step by step breached its duties since Washington’s exit from the deal. On Monday, Iran stated it resumed 20% uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow facility discontinuance to town of Qom. 

The transfer follows the passage of regulations in Iran’s vital-liner parliament last month that called for rising uranium enrichment in retaliation for the suspected Israeli-orchestrated assassination of 1 of Iran’s top nuclear scientists in November.

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