Source Title: Iran does not accept “political mediation” to detain South Korean oil tankers
Tehran, January 24 (Xinhua) Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman khatibzad said on the 24th that Iran does not accept South Korea’s proposal of “political mediation” on the issue of South Korean oil tankers seized by Iran.
In an interview with Iran’s student news agency, khatibzad said that the South Korean oil tanker was detained for the technical reason of polluting the marine environment, and a political solution should not be sought. Like other countries, Iran is sensitive to issues such as marine environmental pollution.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard seized an oil tanker flying the South Korean flag in the Gulf on the 4th on the grounds that it had repeatedly violated the relevant laws and regulations on the marine environment;. South Korean media believe that the arrest of the ship is related to the freezing of Iranian assets in South Korea. Iran’s Vice Foreign Minister araghi said on the 10th that South Korea should avoid “politicizing” the oil tanker detention incident;.
The US government unilaterally withdrew from the comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear issue in May 2018, and then restarted and added a series of sanctions against Iran. Affected by this, the two South Korean banks will freeze about $7 billion of Iranian assets from September 2019. Iran has repeatedly asked South Korea not to Freeze Iranian funds in South Korea because of US sanctions.
Yonhap quoted a South Korean official on the 21st of this month as saying that Iran’s funds were frozen not because the South Korean government lacked the will to unfreeze, but because of the structural factors in the context of US sanctions against Iran;. It is hoped that the new US administration will help solve this problem.