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Iranian sailors held in Tanzania back home after 4 years

Eight Iranian sailors, held in Tanzania for four years on trespassing charges, have now returned home owing to successful diplomatic efforts by Iranian authorities.

The sailors arrived in Chabahar on Monday after being freed by Tanzania last week, Hamid-Reza Tousi, head of Foreign Ministry’s representative office at the southern Iranian port city, said. 

The official said their release was owed to the ministry, the Iranian embassy in the African nation’s largest city of Dar es Salaam, and his office’s engagement in diplomatic endeavors and negotiations with Tanzanian authorities. 

Iran’s efforts, he added, featured multiple meetings between the Iranian ambassador and Tanzania’s president, attorney general, and other legal authorities.

Tanzania still holds as many as 22 Iranian fishermen in custody, Tousi noted.

He advised against potential criminal behavior, including violation of other countries’ territorial waters, that could warrant a confrontation. The official also urged relevant Iranian bodies to properly educate and inform Iranian seafarers to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The Islamic Republic’s own sovereign waters are subject to repeated acts of trespassing by foreign vessels.

Iran, however, mostly refrains from taking immediate drastic measures against trespassers, preferring instead to engage in negotiations with their respective countries to resolve matters.

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