South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-Kun is heading to Tehran to negotiate with Iran over the chemical tanker Hankuk Chemi seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval forces in the Strait of Hormuz on January 4.
According to Tehran, the South Korean ship was detained in connection with "violation of environmental protocols."
Talks between a South Korean deputy foreign minister and Iranian officials in Tehran in the next day or two should address the issue of about $ 7 billion in frozen oil debts that Iran says South Korea owes for past sales. p>
South Korea was one of the main buyers of oil from Iran before stopping purchases in early 2019 due to US sanctions against Tehran.
Tanker Hankuk Chemi was last seen off the Iranian port of Shahid Rajai in Bandar Abbas 6 days ago, shortly after it was captured by the Iranian IRGC. The next day South Korea sent a special paramilitary anti-piracy unit to the Strait of Hormuz to free the vessel.
Tensions in the Persian Gulf have escalated last week, on the anniversary of the deadly US strike against senior Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.