Sep 24, 2019, 6:53 PM
Journalist ID: 2382
News Code: 83489433
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Iran continuing efforts to release three Iranian sailors

Tehran, Sept 24, IRNA - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Parliamentary, Consular and Iranian Nationals Affairs said that during talks to release Iranian sailors in Somalia, the Iranian officials have faced organized mafia gangs.

Having said that Hossein Jaberi Ansari noted on Tuesday that efforts for the release of three remaining sailors held by pirates, will continue.

In a welcoming ceremony for the Iranian sailor, Mohammed Sharif Panahandeh, on Tuesday evening, Jaberi Ansari highlighted that two Iranian fishing boats were stolen by Somalia's pirates near Somalia in 2015. On the two vessels, there were 37 Iranian sailors who, over the past four and a half years, were released on the basis of efforts made, some of three of them still in the hands of pirates.

In January of the same year when the two vessels were abducted by pirates, diplomatic relations between the two countries, Iran and Somalia, were severed by the Somali government, which made it difficult for the official to pursue the situation of the sailors, he said.

He added that during this time, various efforts were made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other institutions, some NGOs, the United Nations and Iranian embassies in neighboring countries of Somalia, including Kenya and Ethiopia.

He said the specific situation in Somalia has made it difficult to track the status of the abducted sailors, noting that the main problem is that pirates and organized mafia gangs have access to financial means to finance their abduction. They are taking hostages and stealing, so we are not facing a government in pursuit of this.

Responding to the question that human rights issues were said to have been effective in the release of the Iranian sailor, Jaberi Ansari stated that these sailors lived in the worst conditions during captivity and their health and physical condition were in jeopardy. Mr Pnahandeh's special state of health has been instrumental in his release and has been pursued through the UN institutions and NGOs.

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