Negotiations continue between South Korea and Iran over release of tanker

Negotiations  continue between South Korea and Iran over release of tanker
Handout picture provided by the Iranian foreign ministry on Jan. 10, 2021, shows South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (L) meeting with his Iranian counterpart Abbas Araghchi, in the Iranian capital Tehran. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 12 January 2021

Negotiations continue between South Korea and Iran over release of tanker

Negotiations  continue between South Korea and Iran over release of tanker
  • Iran said the IRGC seized the ship because it was leaking oil in violation of environmental laws
  • South Korea used to be a major buyer of Iranian oil until US ended their sanctions waiver on imports of Iranian oil in 2019

DUBAI: South Korea’s vice foreign minister met with their Iranian counterpart to negotiate the release of the captured vessel and its crew, US-funded broadcaster Radio Farda reported.
Choi Jong-kun met with Abbas Araqchi to discuss the South Korean-flaged MT Hankuk Chemi seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on Jan. 4 as it was in the area of the Strait of Hormuz, the report added.
Iran said the IRGC seized the ship because it was leaking oil in violation of environmental laws.
“Seoul shouldn’t politicize the issue and rather wait until the factual investigation of the case by the Iranian judiciary is complete,” Araqchi was quoted as saying.
South Korea used to be a major buyer of Iranian oil until US ended their sanctions waiver on imports of Iranian oil in 2019. Around $7 billion of Iran’s funds are now frozen in two South Korean banks.
“For two-and-a-half years, our accounts have been frozen because of US sanctions and during this time South Korea has allowed itself to be bossed around by the United States," Araqchi added.
The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.
“I’m a little relieved to know that the crew is safe, but the situation is serious,” Choi Jong-kun said.
According to South Korean Yonhap News Agency, Iran wants to free the money to purchase medical supplies and COVID-19 vaccines.

Soleimani’s shadow
Qassem Soleimani left a trail of death and destruction in his wake as head of Iran’s Quds Force … until his assassination on Jan. 3, 2020. Yet still, his legacy of murderous interference continues to haunt the region

Enter


keywords

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia
Updated 20 min 8 sec ago

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia
  • Saturday’s protests come as the North African nation struggles to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic
  • The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14

TUNIS: Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Tunisian cities on Saturday to protest police repression, corruption and poverty, following several nights of unrest marked by clashes and arrests.
Saturday’s protests come as the North African nation struggles to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled the economy and threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
Over 6,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Tunisia, with a record 103 deaths reported on Thursday.
The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14.
But protesters took to the streets in several parts of the country, including the capital Tunis and the marginalized interior region of Gafsa, to demand the release of hundreds of young people detained during several nights of unrest since January 14.
“Neither police nor Islamists, the people want revolution,” chanted demonstrators in a crowd of several hundred in Tunis, where one person was wounded in brief clashes amid a heavy police presence.
Protests were also held in the coastal city of Sfax on Friday.
Much of the unrest has been in working class neighborhoods, where anger is boiling over soaring unemployment and a political class accused of having failed to deliver good governance, a decade after the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Economic misery exacerbated by novel coronavirus restrictions in the tourism-reliant nation have pushed growing numbers of Tunisians to try to leave the country.
“The situation is catastrophic,” said Omar Jawadi, 33, a hotel sales manager, who has been paid only half his salary for months.
“The politicians are corrupt, we want to change the government and the system.”
The police have said more than 700 people were arrested over several nights of unrest earlier this week that saw young people hurl rocks and petrol bombs at security forces, who responded with tear gas and water cannon.
Human rights groups on Thursday said at least 1,000 people had been detained.
“Youth live from day to day, we no longer have hope, neither to work nor to study — and they call us troublemakers!” said call center worker Amine, who has a degree in aerospace engineering.
“We must listen to young people, not send police in by the thousands. The whole system is corrupt, a few families and their supporters control Tunisia’s wealth.”
Tunisia last week marked one decade since Ben Ali fled the country amid mass protests, ending 23 years in power.
Tunisia’s political leadership is divided, with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi waiting for parliament to confirm a major cabinet reshuffle announced last Saturday.