[CBC뉴스] 이란 해군이 걸프 해역에서 한국 국적의 유조선을 나포하고 선원들을 억류했다고 현지시간 4일 이란 언론이 보도했다.
이번 사건은 미국의 제재로 인해 한국 은행에 동결된 이란 자금에 대한 테헤란과 한국 사이의 긴장이 고조되고 있는 배경 가운데 발생했다.
Iran's navy has seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in Gulf waters and detained its crew, Iranian media reported on Monday (January 4).
The incident comes amid rising tensions between Tehran and Seoul over Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions.
Seoul confirmed the seizure of a chemical tanker in the waters off Oman, and demanded its immediate release.
Several Iranian media outlets, including state TV, said Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps Guards captured the vessel alleging it was polluting the Gulf with chemicals.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency published pictures showing the Guards' speed boats escorting the tanker, Hankuk Chemi, which it said was carrying 7,200 tonnes of ethanol.
It said the vessel's crew members included nationals of South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar. Iran's state TV said the tanker was being held at Iran's Bandar Abbas port city. The ship had 20 crew members, according to South Korea's foreign ministry.
The U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet is aware of the incident and is monitoring the situation, spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich said in response to a Reuters query.
The incident comes ahead of an expected visit by South Korea's deputy foreign minister to Tehran, during which officials are likely to discuss Iran's demand that South Korea release $7 billion in funds frozen in South Korean banks because of U.S. sanctions.
The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after Washington withdrew from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers. Under that deal, Iran had agreed to curb its nuclear work in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Iran has retaliated by bypassing the restrictions of the deal step-by-step. In a move that could complicate efforts by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to rejoin the deal, Tehran said on Monday it had resumed 20% uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow nuclear facility.
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