India continues talks with Iran for sailors’ release

July 5th, 2008 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) India Saturday continued discussions with the Iranian authorities to secure the release of 17 Indian sailors who were arrested from Saudi fishing boats for violating Iran’s territorial waters near its first nuclear power plant. According to external affairs ministry sources, the Indian embassy in Tehran was “seized of the matter” and was negotiating with Iranian officials.

On Thursday, four Saudi fishing vessels, manned by a crew of 17 Indian nationals, were captured for illegally fishing in Iran’s territorial waters.

The seizure took place about 50 km from the nearly completed Bushehr nuclear power station being built by Russia.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon Friday said the process to secure their release was a “bit complicated”, as it was “four-way negotiation” also involving the Saudi company.

“We are in touch with the Iranian government and we are trying very hard to get them released as soon as possible,” he told reporters.

Iran has been very vigilant in tracking the movement of foreign vessels in its waters. In March 2007, Iran seized 15 British sailors and marines and three months later, captured three UAE fishing boats.

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