After Iranian Revolutionary Guards boarded a South Korean chemical tanker, MT Hankuk Chemi, and took its 23 crew prisoner, tensions between Iran and South Korea are rising high.
The action has been taken because the ship had been “polluting the Persian Gulf with chemicals,” according to a public announcement from the Iranian government.
The official of DM Shipping, the parent company that owns the tanker, insists that the ship “did not cause environmental pollution,” and that “on the high seas,” beyond Iranian territorial waters, the Iranian action took place.
The Hankuk Chemi is currently being impounded at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea has demanded that Iran immediately release the ship and its crew, adding that South Korean forces stationed in the Hormuz Strait are already on their way to the region.
The seizure has been linked by some analysts to a money row over South Korea’s oil payments to Iran.
Aggressive action is taking place against the backdrop of the revived production of nuclear weapons at Iran’s Fordo site, raising tensions with the Trump administration.
The nuclear move by Iran is in breach of an agreement signed in 2015 with the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.
Iran is now enriching uranium to a purity of up to 20%, easily placing weapons-grade material within its scope.
Tensions still exist between Iran and Israel after a “remote-controlled weapon” killed Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November.
The claims of its presence have not been publicly commented upon by Israel.
The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, is putting military forces into place for a possible war with Iran. A proposal has been scrapped to carry the USS Nimitz home from a long patrol in the Persian Gulf, leaving her on station off the Iranian coast.