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Saudi coast guard’s killing of Iranian fisherman unjustifiable: Qassemi

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says the Saudi coast guard’s move to shoot and kill an Iranian fisherman was illegal and lacking any justification.

“The move by Saudi Arabia’s coast guard to shoot this fisherman runs counter to the established principles of international law and was an inhumane measure,” Bahram Qassemi told ISNA on Sunday.

He added that Iran would continue its investigation of the incident and would seriously follow up on the issue.

Late on Saturday, Qassemi confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s coast guard had killed an Iranian fisherman and said the “bitter incident” was being investigated by Iran’s border guard and other related authorities.

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Earlier on Saturday, the Iranian Interior Ministry’s director general for border affairs, Majid Aqa-Babaei, said the incident happened after two Iranian boats fishing in the Persian Gulf strayed from their course due to big sea waves.

“Accordingly and without establishing whether the Iranian boats had crossed Saudi borders, the coast guard of this country opened fire on the Iranian boats and an Iranian fisherman was killed due to a bullet hitting him in the waist,” he added.

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Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia worsened after a deadly human crush occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca in September 2015.

Islamic Republic officials blamed the incompetence of Saudi officials for the incident, which, according to Iran, killed 4,700 people, including 465 Iranian nationals.

Mutual ties deteriorated further when Riyadh executed prominent Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in January 2016. Saudi Arabia unilaterally severed its diplomatic ties with Iran after protests in front of its diplomatic premises in the cities of Tehran and Mashhad against Nimr’s execution.

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