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Attack on Iranian fishermen by Qatari forces denounced

Tehran, June 16, IRNA -- Armed Forces Headquarters Deputy Chief for Defense and Cultural Affairs Brigadier General Ali-Reza Afshar here Tuesday evening denounced the attack Friday by Qatari naval forces of an Iranian fishing vessel which killed one and injured four others.

He said the Iranian vessel was fishing in Iranian waters near the Iranian island of Lavan when it was attacked by Qatari forces.

Incidents of fishermen caught fishing in territorial waters of littoral states of the Persian Gulf are not unusual, he said, adding that similar incidents have happened in Iranian waters.

Last week, seven UAE vessels were intercepted in Iranian waters and their 22 crew arrested by naval forces of the Islamic Revolution's Guard Corps (IRGC), the general added.

Referring to the Iranian fishing vessel which was interecepted by UAE marine forces last month, Afshar said the vessel, with 11 crew on board, was on a fishing trip in the waters surrounding Abu Musa Island in the Persian Gulf on May 31 at the time of the incident.

A case has been filed against the owner of the vessel in a Dubai court and the Iranian government would be informed of its status accordingly, he said, stressing that similar cases in the past have been settled with the imposition of fines.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has conveyed a strong protest accompanied by a blunt warning Sunday to Doha in the wake of the fatal attack Sunday by Qatari naval forces of the Iranian fishing boat in the Persian Gulf which which claimed the life of one fisherman and caused injuries to four others.

The foreign ministry summoned the Qatari ambassador to Tehran, Saleh al-Kuwari, to convey Tehran's "strong protest" over the attack Friday morning.

"Qatar's troops first talked to the captain of the boat and ordered them to leave the area but while the boat and its crew was leaving, the Qatari troops opened fire at them assuming they were fleeing the area," Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Ali Asghar Ahmadi said.

According to Ahmadi, the Qatari troops confiscated the boat and took the body of the slain fisherman as well as the four wounded Iranians with them.

The foreign ministry demanded an explanation from the Qatari government Saturday night as well as immediate repatriation of the four Iranians.

According to the ministry, Iran also urged Doha to immediately identify and punish those responsible for the attack and ensure that such attacks do not happen again.

The Qatari ambassador expressed regret over the attack, but insisted he was not aware of it.

Al-Kuwari gave the assurance that he would immediately convey the protest message to his government and inform Iran of its response.

... Payvand News - 6/16/04 ... --

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