Iran detains Finnish men


Summary

The men work for a mobile phone company in Dubai.

The three had apparently drifted into Iranian-controlled waters accidentally while on an angling trip from the United Arab Emirates, said Esa Hurtig, charge d’affaires at the Finnish embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Mobile telecoms equipment firm Nokia Siemens Networks says the three men worked for it in the trade and tourism hub of Dubai.

“There are three Finnish citizens who were fishing and strayed into an off-limits area near Abu Musa island. This is a sensitive area and it happens,” Mr Hurtig said.

“They were detained by the Iranians. We are trying to resolve this issue. I think this will be resolved.” The three were detained on Saturday.

Earlier this year, Iran released a German and a Frenchman who had been held for more than a year after being picked up near Abu Musa while on a fishing trip from Dubai.

The pair had been convicted of illegally entering Iranian waters.

“We have been talking to the government of Finland, who have been reaching out to their Iranian counterparts,” Nokia Siemens Networks spokesman Barry French said.

The United Arab Emirates and Iran have full diplomatic ties and strong trade links, but are embroiled in a three-decade dispute over three strategic islands in the Gulf, through which a third of the world’s sea-borne crude oil passes.

“Iranian authorities have told us that they are in good condition, but we have not been able to contact them directly,” Finish Foreign Ministry official Pasi Tuominen said.

Finnish ambassador to Iran, Heikki Puurunen, said the embassy was seeking a meeting with Iranian officials today. So far, he said, contacts with Iranian officials had been only by telephone because of a national holiday on Monday and yesterday.

“We don’t know where they are (being held),” he said.

Two Swedish men, convicted and accused of espionage after being arrested in 2006 taking photographs of “sensitive military sites” on another Iranian island in the Gulf, were freed in April in what Tehran said was an “act of clemency”.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards also detained 15 British military personnel aboard two small boats in the northern Gulf in March, triggering a diplomatic storm.

Britain denied the sailors had strayed into Iranian waters.

They were freed after 13 days.

The UAE released 12 Iranian sailors last month detained in an area north of Abu Musa, one of the three disputed islands which the UAE claims and Iran controls.


The men work for a mobile phone company in Dubai.

The three had apparently drifted into Iranian-controlled waters accidentally while on an angling trip from the United Arab Emirates, said Esa Hurtig, charge d’affaires at the Finnish embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Mobile telecoms equipment firm Nokia Siemens Networks says the three men worked for it in the trade and tourism hub of Dubai.

“There are three Finnish citizens who were fishing and strayed into an off-limits area near Abu Musa island. This is a sensitive area and it happens,” Mr Hurtig said.

“They were detained by the Iranians. We are trying to resolve this issue. I think this will be resolved.” The three were detained on Saturday.

Earlier this year, Iran released a German and a Frenchman who had been held for more than a year after being picked up near Abu Musa while on a fishing trip from Dubai.

The pair had been convicted of illegally entering Iranian waters.

“We have been talking to the government of Finland, who have been reaching out to their Iranian counterparts,” Nokia Siemens Networks spokesman Barry French said.

The United Arab Emirates and Iran have full diplomatic ties and strong trade links, but are embroiled in a three-decade dispute over three strategic islands in the Gulf, through which a third of the world’s sea-borne crude oil passes.

“Iranian authorities have told us that they are in good condition, but we have not been able to contact them directly,” Finish Foreign Ministry official Pasi Tuominen said.

Finnish ambassador to Iran, Heikki Puurunen, said the embassy was seeking a meeting with Iranian officials today. So far, he said, contacts with Iranian officials had been only by telephone because of a national holiday on Monday and yesterday.

“We don’t know where they are (being held),” he said.

Two Swedish men, convicted and accused of espionage after being arrested in 2006 taking photographs of “sensitive military sites” on another Iranian island in the Gulf, were freed in April in what Tehran said was an “act of clemency”.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards also detained 15 British military personnel aboard two small boats in the northern Gulf in March, triggering a diplomatic storm.

Britain denied the sailors had strayed into Iranian waters.

They were freed after 13 days.

The UAE released 12 Iranian sailors last month detained in an area north of Abu Musa, one of the three disputed islands which the UAE claims and Iran controls.