Two Iranian websites have echoed the call by ultraconservative Kayhan newspaper to block the Hormuz Strait to South Korean vessels, demanding the release of Iran’s blocked funds.
The hardliner Mashregh News and Fars news website affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard have republished a social media post by Mohammad Imani, a hardliner who demanded the government adopt a tougher stance toward South Korea.
On Sunday, Kayhan newspaper, financed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in an article suggested closing the Hormuz to ships originating from or destined to South Korea, which holds $7 billion of Iran’s funds blocked by United States’ sanctions.
Seoul summoned Iran’s ambassador on Monday to express dismay at the Kayhan article.
Imani’s post on social media platform Telegram repeated Kayhan’s demand and asked that the foreign ministry declare its position regarding the ambassador being summoned by South Korea. The two hardline websites republished Imani’s post highlighting that they are simply giving coverage to social media posts for the benefit of their readers.
Tehran has been pressuring Seoul to release the funds for more than a year. In January 2021, a South Korean vessel was seized by the Revolutionary Guard and released weeks later. Seoul says it is not opposed to pay the $7 billion accrued in to banks from Iranian oil imports, but it needs Washington’s agreement, not to be in violation of US sanctions.