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Iran powerful enough to encounter pirates: Minister

Tehran, Nov 23, IRNA - Deputy Minister of Roads and Transportation Ali Taheri said here Sunday that Iran is powerful enough to encounter sea pirates.

"The international community has issued permit for military confrontation with sea pirates robbing Iranian ships. The Islamic Republic of Iran has necessary potential and enough facilities to confront sea pirates," Taheri told IRNA on the sidelines of his tour of the first exclusive fair of achievements of security departments of government offices.

"Negotiations have started on the stolen ship with the other party. But at any rate, Iran's stance is based on dealing with the issue with full strength. Fortunately, the international community too has given necessary assurances and even sanctioned military option to deal with the sea pirates," he said.

Taheri, who is also managing director of the Ports and Shipping Organization, said, "If the talks lead to blackmailing, the way will be prepared for others problems and repetition of similar incidents.

Hence, we hope the problem will soon be solved by taking proper initiatives."

Asked whether other people or countries might be involved in stealing commercial ships other than the sea pirates, Taheri said all options are on the table.

"All possibilities exist and nothing is absolute. A close look should be taken at all issues and many probabilities should be taken into consideration," he added.

He said all crew of the Iranian ship stolen in Gulf of Aden are safe and sound.

"Eight members of the crew on board the Hong Kong ship, chartered by Iran to carry wheat are Iranian and the rest are foreigners. All the crew are in full health and regular contacts are made with them," he added.

He added that last week a delegation from Iran left for the international Maritime Organization conference for talks.

In the meeting the participants discussed formation of a fleet to support commercial fleet and the proposal is to be raised in the first UN-sponsored meeting in which Iran will participate, he added.

He said that Gulf of Aden has turned into a critical spot and the focal point of global attention this year.

He said at present the sea pirates hold more than 15 ships from many countries with more than 250 crew members on board.

He stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and other related organs are closely following up the issue of the stolen ship and hope the problem will be solved as soon as possible.

... Payvand News - 11/23/08 ... --

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