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Saudi Arabia releases 7 Iranian fishermen

Source: Tehran Times

Saudi Arabia has released seven Iranian fishermen, Iran's Arabic-language television network Al Alam reported on Thursday, giving hope for the release of at least ten more inmates in the country. The report said the fishermen had been handed over to Iran.

file photo: Iranian fishign boats near Qeshm Island in Persian Gulf

The development comes after Iran demanded Saudi Arabia immediately free three Iranian fishermen who were detained by the Saudi navy in mid June, saying their boats were pushed off course by waves.

Saudi coastguard officers opened fire on the fishing boats in the Persian Gulf, killing a fisherman.

Saudi Arabia's information ministry claimed that the arrestees were members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who were trying to approach the kingdom's offshore Marjan oilfield for sabotage purposes.

"This was one of three vessels which were intercepted by Saudi forces. It was captured with the three men on board, the other two escaped," a statement from the ministry's center for international communications said.

"The three captured members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are now being questioned by Saudi authorities," it said, citing a Saudi official.

The statement was rejected by the IRGC as an "outright lie."

Last week, the Iranian Shargh paper published interviews with families of a number of fishermen held in Saudi Arabia, putting the number of inmates in the country at 18.

Relations are at their worst in years, with Tehran and Riyadh supporting opposite sides in Syria.
Lack of direct political relations since 2016 have made negotiations on the issue impossible.

... Payvand News - 06/30/17 ... --

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