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Iran Keeps Four Crew Members Of Seized Saudi Vessel In Custody

Iran IRGC Speedboats, file photo
Iran IRGC Speedboats, file photo

The Navy of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has seized a Saudi vessel after allegedly trespassing on the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, Iranian local media reported.

As of today, July 10, there has been no report of the four crew members being released by the Iranian side.

Majid Aqa-Babaei, Director-General of Border Affairs at Iran's Interior Ministry, said at 08:00 p.m. on July 06, the Saudi Arabian boat, with four Indian crew members aboard, was seized four miles west of Farsi Island by IRGC’s Navy forces due to border encroachment.

“While the case of the detainees is under legal investigation, we are going to reciprocate and treat the Indian crew the same way the Saudis are treating our illegally captured fishermen,” Aqa-Babaei issued a little veiled threat.

Referring to the fact that Riyadh has severed its diplomatic relation with Tehran, he noted that the case of Iranian fishermen detained in Saudi Arabia will be followed through unofficial as well as international channels.

He said that as far as the case of Iranian fisherman in captivity in Saudi Arabia is no more a political or security matter, he hopes to see them free as soon as possible.

The Saudi vessel, which had set off from the Saudi port of Dareen, was seized in the waters off the southern Iranian province of Bushehr on Friday, an informed source told Fars news agency.

In June, Iran said that Saudi Arabia’s coastguard had opened fire on three Iranian fishing boats in the waters south of Iran, killing one crew member and detaining three others. Tehran claimed that the boats strayed from their course to bad seas.

However, according to Saudi Arabian security forces, the three Iranian detainees are members of the IRGC and were captured when their boats approached Saudi’s Marjan oil terminal in the Persian Gulf.

Iran has dismissed the statement as false and unfounded. In retaliation, Tehran, without presenting any evidence, has accused Riyadh of having a hand in the deadly June 7 attacks on Khomeini’s mausoleum and the parliament building in Tehran.

Diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia were severed after a mob attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran on January 2, 2016.

The attackers stormed into the embassy, ransacked and set it on fire.