Iran rejects ‘political mediation’ over seized S.Korean tanker
Tehran, Jan 25 (IANS) Iran does not accept the “political mediation” of a third country regarding a South Korean oil tanker seized the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Gulf earlier this month, since it is a “technical” affair, a government spokesman said here.
“As we said before, the oil tanker was seized due to the pollution of the marine environment in the Gulf, and this is an important issue all countries are sensitive about,” Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Minister spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying to a local media outlet on Sunday.
On January 19, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani reportedly voiced Doha’s readiness to facilitate a dialogue between Iran and South Korea.
Khatibzadeh further said that Iranian authorities have informed their South Korean counterparts that Tehran will not accept a political mediation on a technical issue.
The spokesman also rejected claims that the tanker, Hankuk Chemi was seized to put pressure on Seoul in order to have the Iranian assets released, as observers have speculated.
The IRGC announced in a statement on January 4 that United Arab Emirate-bound tanker, carrying 7,200 tonnes of petrochemicals, had been seized “for repeated violations of marine environmental laws”.
It also had 20 crewmembers on board — five South Koreans, 11 Myanmarese, two Indonesians and two Vietnamese.
The tanker is currently docked at a port in Bandar Abbas, a city on Iran’s southern coast.