DUBAI, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Iran's coast guard has detained two
Saudi fishing vessels after they entered Iranian waters, the
semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.
Separated by about 250 km (150 miles) of Gulf waters,
Shi'ite Muslim power Iran and Sunni Muslim-led Saudi Arabia have
often had tense relations. Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, has
accused Iran of fomenting unrest among Shi'ites in its oil-rich
Eastern Province, a charge Iran denies.
Fars did not give a date or location for the incident but
said it was reported by Qalandar Lashkari, the coast guard
commander at Bushehr, which is both a province and a port town
on Iran's Gulf coast. It is also the site of the only nuclear
power station in the Islamic Republic.
Fars quoted Lashkari as saying that the two dhows were
tracked and confiscated after they illegally entered Iran's
All their 10 crew were arrested, it said. Initial
investigations showed that the vessels were from Saudi Arabia
but their captains and crews were Indian nationals, Fars said.
They had crossed into Iranian waters to fish, the agency said.
A week earlier, Fars said, forces of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guards' "second naval zone" seized another Saudi
vessel and its four-strong crew after it illegally entered
Iranian waters. The vessel was later expelled, the agency said,
On Jan. 3, Saudi Arabia detained 21 Iranian nationals who
were aboard two boats near al-Harqus island 42 miles (78 km) off
the Saudi coast, the Saudi border guard said.
(Writing by William Maclean)