dpa/GNA – A South Korean-flagged tanker seized this month in the Gulf by Iran will not be going anywhere until a decision is issued by an Iranian court, the country’s deputy foreign minister said Sunday.
“Seoul shouldn’t politicize the issue and rather wait until the factual investigation of the case by the Iranian judiciary is complete,” said Abbas Araghchi, according to the ISNA news agency.
The tanker was seized because it was leaking oil and polluting the Gulf. Thus, the issue isn’t political but technical, said Araghchi in a meeting with South Korean counterpart Choi Jong Kun in Tehran.
Iranian officials, including Araghchi, have said the tanker has nothing to do with frozen Iranian bank accounts in South Korea due to US sanctions. Araghchi did admit though that it’s straining tensions.
“For two-and-a-half years, our accounts have been frozen because of US sanctions and during this time South Korea has allowed itself to be bossed around by the United States,” Araghchi said, calling on Seoul to pursue an independent policy when it comes to its Iran ties.
At least 8 billion dollars are in the frozen accounts, according to Tehran. South Korea on Tuesday summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its condemnation of the seizure and call for its release.