Armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops stormed and forced a South Korean tanker to change course and travel to Iran, the tanker’s owner said Tuesday.
The description of Monday’s raid on the MT Hankuk Chemi differs from Iranian claims that the vessel had been stopped for polluting the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, The Associated Press reported.
“It appeared the Islamic Republic sought to increase its leverage over Seoul ahead of negotiations over billions of dollars in Iranian assets frozen in South Korean banks amid a U.S. pressure campaign targeting Iran,” The AP reported.
South Korea’s presidential office said it views the ship seizure “very gravely.”
An Iranian government spokesman seemed to acknowledge the link in a statement Tuesday.
“If anybody is to be called a hostage taker, it is the South Korean