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Saudi Arabia releases 19 Iranian fishermen

Saudi Arabia has released 19 Iranian fishermen detained 10 months ago, an Iranian official said.

Head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s office in the Southern Province of Bushehr told Tasnim news agency on Thursday that the 19 fishermen, the crew of two separate fishing boats, have been repatriated after diplomatic consultations with the Saudi authorities.

Ali-Asgahr Arablou said one of the fishing boats with 11 sailors on board was captured by the Saudi coastguard on December 31, 2018, when bad weather forced the boat into Saudi Arabia’s territorial waters.

An Iranian fishing launch with 8 crew was also confiscated by the Saudi forces on January 31, 2019, for the same reason, he added.

The Iranian fishermen had been arrested along the common sea border between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Arablou noted.

He emphasized that the freed fishermen were in good health and have returned to the Rostami Port in Tangestan, Bushehr Province.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia’s coastguard opened fire on two Iranian fishing boats in the Persian Gulf waters after the vessels were blown off course by the waves.

The Saudi border guards began to shoot at the boats without verifying whether the vessels had crossed the Saudi border, killing an Iranian fisherman.