The South Korean oil tanker seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in January has been released. The seizure led to a diplomatic conflict between Seoul and Tehran early this year.
The captain is at large and is in good health, says the South Korean Foreign Ministry. The other crew members had already been released before, but remained on board for maintenance to the tanker, writes the South Korean news agency Yonhap. The ship has now departed from the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.
The MT Hankuk Chemi was arrested in the Strait of Hormuz at the beginning of January because it was allegedly discharged oil. The tanker was on its way from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates at that time.
Internationally, the seizure was seen as a retaliation for freezing some USD 7 billion of Iranian assets in South Korea, as a result of US sanctions against Tehran. Iran wants the United States to lighten those sanctions.
Today in Vienna, the international summit talks on the restoration of the nuclear agreement, and hence diplomatic contact with Iran continues. In 2018, President Trump announced that the US would unilaterally withdraw from the agreement, later Iran followed.