Iran says the release of a South Korean tanker and crew is up to the courts

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FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 file photo released by Tasnim News Agency, a seized South Korean-flagged tanker is escorted by Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats on the Persian Gulf. Iranian state television acknowledged that Tehran seized the oil tanker, MT Hankuk Chemi, in the Strait of Hormuz. A South Korean diplomatic delegation arrived in Iran on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, to negotiate the release of the vessel seized amid an escalating financial dispute between the countries, Iranian state-run media reported. (Tasnim News Agency via AP, File)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s foreign minister has told a visiting South Korean delegation that the release of its vessel and crew seized by Iranian forces is a matter for the courts and out of the government’s hands.

The development Monday comes amid an escalating financial dispute between the countries.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying in a meeting with South Korea’s first vice foreign minister that the Iranian government cannot intervene in the case, which is “under review in the legal and judicial framework.”

The South Korean-flagged tanker was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard last week in the crucial Strait of Hormuz.

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