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News number: 9101140767

11:09 | 2012-04-08

Defence

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Iran Suspects Political Motives behind Piracy in Region

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian Navy commander raised the possibility of politically-tainted support for piracy in the region.



Somali pirates are poor and simple people without any expertise and there might be sort of support behind their activities, Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Gholam-Reza Khadem Biqam told reporters on Saturday.

He added that acting as a pirate needs special knowledge and expertise and pirates' activities are impossible without guidance, support and logistics.

The commander added that pirates usually use hostages as a human shield, but Iranian Navy commandos managed to release hostages without any casualties and arrested 21 pirates in the past two operations.

Iran's naval forces on Friday rescued a Chinese freighter which had been seized by pirates 45 miles off Iran's Southern port city of Bandar Jask.

"The pirates seized the ship in international waters, 45 miles off Bandar Jask, but it was freed through the successful operations of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and nine pirates were arrested," Deputy Head of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization Saeed Izadian told FNA on Friday.

"The Chinese ship, called Xianghuamen, had 28 crew members aboard and was sailing under a Panamanian flag," Izadian added.

The Iranian official also said that the vessel carried ironware and was heading towards the Iranian port of Imam Khomeini.

In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian naval forces have been conducting anti-piracy patrols in international waters off its coasts since November 2008 to safeguard maritime trade, and in particular ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran.