Iran expresses concern about S. Korea’s decision on Hormuz dispatch: official

SEOUL-- Iran has expressed concern about South Korea's decision to send troops to the Strait of Hormuz, a foreign ministry official said Tuesday.

Seoul announced earlier in the day that it will dispatch troops in the form of having its Cheonghae anti-piracy unit operating in the Gulf of Aden take on additional missions to protect the key strategic waterway off Iran.

The decision came after the United States called on allies to join its campaign to secure the waterway. But South Korea said the Cheonghae unit will conduct missions independently without joining the U.S.-led coalition.

South Korea briefed Iran on the decision in advance over the weekend, the official said.

"Iran's position is that it is basically opposed to foreign troops or ships coming to the region. They initially expressed concern according to that," the ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Seoul will work closely with Tehran to take care of relations between the two countries, the official said.

"The Iranian side has responded the same way about that," the official said.

Asked about possible negative effects on bilateral relations with Tehran, the official said the government puts national interest and the safety of South Korean citizens first when making such a decision.

"We have our own national interest. We must protect our people and guarantee the safety of our vessels. Iran has its own position and we have made ours in consideration of our national interest," he said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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