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Iran frees South Korean ship as more nuclear talks planned in Vienna

Iran frees South Korean ship as more nuclear talks planned in Vienna,  WP,  By Loveday MorrisSimon Denyer and Kareem Fahim, April 10, 2021 ,

BERLIN — Iran said Friday it had released a South Korean ship seized three months ago and released its captain, easing a source of tension between Tehran and Washington as their negotiating teams held indirect meetings in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iranian forces intercepted the South Korean tanker in the Persian Gulf in January, alleging it was captured for “technical” reasons related to environmental pollution, while also complaining that Seoul had frozen $7 billion of its assets to comply with U.S. sanctions.

On Friday, South Korea also said that the ship, the MT Hankuk Chemi, had been freed, while data showed the ship leaving the port of Bandar Abbas.

It was unclear to what extent Iran’s move was linked to the talks in Vienna, which are expected to stretch for weeks. But Iran’s demand for access to its frozen funds is part of broader negotiations over the revival of the nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions. Iran, in retaliation, began increasing its uranium enrichment beyond permitted levels. The Biden administration and Iran have expressed their desires to revive the agreement but have been at an impasse as to how to do so.

Iran and the United States began indirect talks in Vienna on Tuesday. For days, European diplomats have shuttled proposals between the two delegations, holed up in two separate luxury hotels on opposite sides of a tree-lined boulevard in the Austrian capital.

Their hope is to agree to a road map that would lift U.S. sanctions imposed under Trump and recommit Tehran to its agreements under the accord, including limits on uranium enrichment.

Iran and signatories to the deal — excluding the United States — held formal meetings on Friday that “took stock of the discussions held at various levels” over the past days, the European Union said in a statement……….

April 10, 2021 - Posted by | Iran, politics international

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