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Iran seizes boats with 17 Indians

July 04, 2008 09:18 IST

Iran has seized four fishing boats from Saudi Arabia with 17 Indian crew on board in Persian Gulf waters near its first nuclear power plant.

"The boats were from Saudi Arabia and had 17 Indian nationals on board," said Iranian news reports quoting the police commander of Iran's Bushehr province on Thursday.

"Bushehr sea-guard patrols stopped four foreign fishing boats on the strength of border violation and illegal fishing on Iranian waters," Reza Mohmmadi-Yeganeh told reporters.

The documents of the boats were confiscated and the vessels are being held in Bushehr's naval police headquarters in southern Iran, he added.

The boats were seized around 30 nautical miles from the Bushehr nuclear plant, off Iran's coast - which is being completed by a Russian firm and is due to go online later this year.

In June 2007 Iran arrested the crew of three Emirati boats it had seized for illegal entry and fishing on its territorial waters in the Gulf.

In March 2007, Iranian naval forces seized 15 British sailors and marines in the Gulf claiming they had entered Iran's territorial waters but Britain insisted they had been engaged in anti-smuggling operations in Iraqi waters.

The group was freed after two weeks in captivity. 

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