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South Korea sends military special forces to release tanker captured by Iran

Ближний Восток / Asia

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Choi Yong-sam said on Tuesday that the government in Seoul is in close contact with colleagues in Tehran and is trying to secure the peaceful release of the sailors and the vessel.

South Korea sends military special forces to release tanker captured by Iran

South Korea sent a special anti-piracy unit to the Strait of Hormuz after its tanker loaded with ethyl alcohol on Monday was captured by the naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Persian Gulf. Iran said the ship was arrested for "environmental and chemical pollution of the Persian Gulf."

According to the South Korean Ministry of Defense, the Cheonghae unit, which includes South Korean special forces, arrived in the strait on Tuesday aboard the destroyer Choi Yong.

Established in 2009 as South Korea's first overseas anti-piracy unit, the Cheonghae unit has been deployed in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen to ensure the free movement of South Korean vessels through the region.

Nearly a year ago, the unit's area of ​​operations was expanded to include the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, approximately 1,800 kilometers (1,118 mi) to the east, due to a sharp rise in regional tensions.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf have escalated last week, on the anniversary of the deadly US strike against senior Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

According to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, five South Korean citizens are among the 20 civilian sailors on board the tanker.

Earlier today, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Said Khatibzade said that Iran would not conduct any negotiations on state defense capabilities.

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