South Korea holding $7 billion Iran funds 'hostage': government spokesman
ISNA - Iranian Students' News Agency
Tue / 5 January 2021 / 16:33
Tehran (ISNA) - Iran's government spokesman, Ali Rabiei on Tuesday rejected allegations that Iran's seizure of a South Korean vessel amounted to hostage-taking, saying, "It's the South Korean government that has taken our more than $7 billion hostage under a futile pretext".
Speaking at a press conference, Rabiei said, "We are not hostage-takers. We are used to such allegations. If anybody is to be called a hostage taker, it's the South Korean government that has taken our more than $7 billion hostage under a futile pretext".
"The seizure was based on a court order after the tanker had caused oil pollution in the Persian Gulf. It was warned beforehand, and the seizure request was a technical one," he added.
Rabiei said, "South Korea has refused to provide Iran with the funds even regarding goods that are not sanctioned by the United States. Our nation's historical memory will not forget this".
Meanwhile, South Korea's foreign ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam announced that the country will send a diplomatic delegation to Iran soon to resolve the tanker situation through bilateral negotiations.
South Korea's deputy foreign minister Choi Jong-kun will go ahead with a previously planned three-day trip to Tehran early next week, the spokesman added.
The deputy minister's visit had been arranged prior to the seizure, as Tehran seeks the release of its billions of dollars frozen in Seoul.
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