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South Korea withdraws its warship from the Strait of Hormuz.

Image Credit: Yonhap News

South Korea announced that it withdrew its warship, the 4,400-ton Choi Young destroyer, from the Strait of Hormuz in a show of goodwill. It is believed that this happened on January 10, before the arrival of the South Korean delegation in Tehran.

Negotiations between South Korea and Iran over the South Korean’s seized oil tanker and sailors will commence soon, and South Korea wants to create a good atmosphere for the negotiations.

To create a good atmosphere for the negotiations, the Cheonghae Unit, to which Iran has responded sensitively, was taken away (from the strait). It was a decision to send a friendly signal to Iran ahead of the negotiations.”

Unknown Source.

The South Korean oil ship, MT Hankuk Chemi was passing through the Strait of Hormuz on January 4, when all of a sudden the Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps seized over pollution allegations. The oil tanker sailed out from Saudi Arabia and was meant to go to the United Arab Emirates.

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The chance of an early release of the sailors and ship is low according to observers as Iran strict adherence to the judicial process will make it difficult for a diplomatic solution to be reached, but there is still hope.

Iran made a request to South Korea, to use part of its frozen funds in South Korean banks to pay its United Nations membership fees. Around $7 billion of Iranian cash is in South Korean banks. South Korea froze the Iranian assets in accordance with US sanctions. Iran demanded this money as part of the negotiations.

It is true that (the method) has been desired by the Iranian side. We are in consultations with related government agencies of ours and the U.N. side to see what options we have.

Official on condition of anonymity.

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