South Korea's top diplomat has been on the phone with his Iranian counterpart, calling for the prompt release of a South Korean tanker and its captain seized by Tehran in its seas in early January over alleged sea pollution.
South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong explained that Seoul is exerting sincere efforts to release Iran's frozen assets in the country, something that had been requested by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The dialogue comes a day after Iran said it'd reached a deal with Seoul on the transfer and use of seven billion U.S. dollars of its funds locked in South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions.
To this, the South Korean government later announced that the two parties have agreed in principle to the proposals it has made to Tehran on how to use the funds, but stressed the release can only take place following consultations with Washington.
In Iran, the country's central bank governor reportedly claimed that Tehran will have Seoul transfer 1 billion dollars of its assets locked in the country.
According to Iran's state news agency, he elaborated that Tehran has issued a payment order for the frozen funds, adding it will initiate legal proceedings according to international law, if Seoul refuses to pay up.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.