Iran launched on Friday a South Korean ship and its captain detained since January after South Korea promised to attempt to safe the discharge of Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks underneath U.S. sanctions, a South Korean official mentioned.
The Iranian international ministry mentioned the chemical tanker, Hankuk Chemi, was launched after an investigation into environmental air pollution, and on the request of the South Korean authorities and its proprietor, state information company IRNA reported.
The seizure of the tanker within the Strait of Hormuz off Oman in January had triggered a diplomatic dispute after Iran demanded that South Korea release $7 billion in funds frozen in South Korean banks underneath U.S. sanctions.
The IRNA report made no point out of the frozen funds, however different Iranian media quoted an unnamed Iranian official as saying Korean officers had given assurances that “they’re attempting to unravel the issue and to strengthen ties.”
The South Korean ministry mentioned in an announcement the ship had left Iran after finishing administrative procedures. It made no point out of the demand for the discharge of funds.
“The captain and sailors are in good well being,” the ministry mentioned.
A South Korean international ministry official instructed reporters that either side had agreed the ship and the funds weren’t associated points and South Korea promised to assist get the cash launched.
“We’ve expressed our agency willingness to resolve the fund situation,” mentioned the official, who declined to be recognized.
Iranian authorities had accused the tanker of polluting the waters with chemical compounds, a cost denied by South Korea. The South Korean official mentioned Iran dropped a plan to pursue search prison costs in opposition to the shipping firm.
“Iran, with lengthy coastlines within the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, stresses full compliance with maritime laws, together with environmental safety, and displays each violation on this respect,” mentioned Saeed Khatibzadeh, a international ministry spokesman quoted by IRNA.
Iran agreed to free all of the ship’s 20 crew members apart from the captain in February, after a South Korean vice international minister visited Tehran.
Iran has denied allegations that the seizure of the tanker and its crew constituted hostage-taking, saying it was South Korea that was holding Iranian funds hostage.
The freezing of the funds is linked to U.S. sanctions that Washington reimposed on Tehran in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear take care of world powers.
Below the Biden administration, the US and Iran have begun oblique talks over a return to the accord.
The US has just lately agreed to permit Iran to make use of the funds for non-military functions and it has spent some on coronavirus vaccines secured by way of the worldwide COVAX initiative, the ministry official mentioned, with out giving a exact quantity.
Extra reporting by the Dubai newsroom; Modifying by Edwina Gibbs, Robert Birsel & Simon Cameron-Moore