South Korean PM Chung Syekyun arrived in Iran on Sunday to help try to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers and free up $7 billion in Iranian funds trapped in South Korea, Seoul officials said.
Tension rose after Iran seized a South Korean ship and its sailors in the Strait of Hormuz ship in January, accusing them of polluting the waters and demanded South Korea release $7 billion in assets frozen in South Korean banks under US sanctions.
Chung’s trip comes days after Iran released the tanker and its captain, the last member of its 20 strong crew, with South Korea vowing to help secure the release of the funds. Iran and world powers held talks last week aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal that former US President Donald Trump abandoned three years ago.
Chung is the first South Korean PM to visit Iran in 44 years in the midst of cold relations between the two countries due to Iran’s military cooperation with North Korea. In 2017, Chung visited Iran as the national assembly speaker, invited Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri to South Korea, and promised to provide medical supplies and expand COVID-19 cooperation.