Saudis Release Iranian Fishermen After Nine Months

Saudis Release Iranian Fishermen After Nine MonthsSaudis Release Iranian Fishermen After Nine Months

Saudi Arabia has freed two Iranian fishermen detained by its coast guard last year, the head of the fisheries department of Iran’s Bushehr Province said Saturday. “Two fishermen from Kharg Island, who had been arrested by the Saudi coast guard were released Friday after nine months,” IRNA quoted Ardeshir Yarahmadi as saying.  The release came after consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries, he said without elaboration. Tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia has run high in recent years and diplomatic contacts between the two sides have become increasingly rare. Yarahmadi said the fishermen had been detained after their boats drifted into the Saudi waters in stormy weather during which they came under live fire. In February, Saudi Arabia freed nine Iranian fishermen detained two years ago, but a tenth fisherman was killed in the initial incident. The Saudi coast guard shot the boat’s owner and sent his body to a morgue in the kingdom, according to the victim’s brother.  Iran says such unintentional trespassing by civilian boats is common and often occurs by foreign vessels in territorial waters of most countries. It has urged the Saudis not to treat them as hostile acts.

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