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Saudi Arabia frees 19 Iranian fishermen

TEHRAN: Saudi Arabia has released 19 Iranian fishermen detained by the kingdom’s coastguard 10-11 months ago, an official from Iranian ministry of foreign affairs said on Thursday.

“Thanks to the negotiations by Iranian foreign ministry with Saudi officials, the fishermen, who are from the south Iranian province of Bushehr, are on their way back home,” Kimia Zarei said.

“One fishing vessel with its 11 fishermen was detained in the Persian Gulf on December 31, 2018 and the other one with eight fishermen was seized on February 8, 2019, by Saudi coastguard,” she informed.

This is not the first time that Saudis detain Iranian fishermen.

Back in 15th June, 2017, three fishing vessels with legal identities and fishing license left the southern Iranian port of Bushehr toward the depth of the Persian Gulf waters. Due to sea waves, the fishermen lost control of their boats and accidentally entered Saudi waters. One boat managed to regain control while the other two were led by the pressure of waves into the Saudi territories.

Saudi coastguard opened fire on two Iranian fishing boats, killing one fisherman named Mahmoud Siamar. His son managed to steer the boat away and guide it toward the Iranian shore. The second boat with three fishermen on board, named Hossein Aslani, Sohrab Aslani, and Hossein Zarei, were detained by Saudi coastguards.

The Iranian Interior Ministry at the time called on Saudi government to pay compensations and punish the perpetrators of the irresponsible move and immediately release the three detained fishermen whose families are deeply concerned about their well-being.

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