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Piracy latest: Iran warns of military offensive

Piracy latest: Iran warns of military offensive

Tehran: Ali Taheri, Iranian Deputy Minister of Road and Transportation, has revealed the possibility of military involvement in the bid to free 25 sailors being held hostage by Somalian pirates onboard the bulk carrier, Delight, belonging to Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line. "Should Iran feel the need to launch a military offensive against the hijackers, the international community has already given the military go-ahead. Iran believes in the need for serious action against the pirates and indeed has a powerful military able to combat them," Taheri is reported as saying. The 43,000dwt Delight was on its way to Iran laden with a cargo of wheat when it was captured on November 18 this year.

This latest development comes as the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UK have both condemned negotiations with the Somalian pirates that have been responsible for a number of the hijack of a number of vessels including Vela-owned VLCC the Sirius Star.  

David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, is quoted by the BBC as saying, "There is a strong view of the British Government, and actually the international community, that payments for hostage-taking are only an encouragement to further hostage-taking.''
 
This is a view that has been echoed by Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal. "We do not support negotiating with hijackers or terrorists. They cannot be seen to gain from their activities and criminality. The best solution would be for the hijackers to free the tanker (the Sirius Star)," he is reported to have said.

Newswires have indicated that pirates aboard the VLCC have dropped their ransom demand from $25m to $15m in response to this strong stand by the Saudi Arabian government.  [24/11/08]

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