Saudi Arabia urges international action over Iran piracy

The cabinet considers Iranian seizure of British tanker a violation of international law. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 July 2019

Saudi Arabia urges international action over Iran piracy

  • The Saudi remarks came after Britain called on Monday for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping
  • Britain has called Iran's tanker seizure an act of “state piracy”

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday called for international action to halt Iranian state piracy targeting commercial shipping in the Arabian Gulf.

“Any disruption of the freedom of international maritime traffic is a violation of international law and the international community must do what is necessary to reject it and deter it,” the Saudi Cabinet said.

The Saudi statement follows Iran’s seizure last week of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces illegally boarded the Stena Impero and ordered it to divert to an Iranian port.

The tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia, suddenly changed course after passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.

Britain has called the seizure an act of “state piracy.”

Iran continued to issue threats on Tuesday, warning that it kept a watch on all shipping in the Gulf.

“We observe all enemy ships, particularly America, point-by-point from their origin until the moment they enter the region,” said Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, head of Iran’s navy. Drones recorded images, he said. 

“We have complete images and a large archive of the daily and moment-by-moment traffic of the coalition forces and America.”

France, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark support British plans for a European-led naval mission to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, their EU diplomats said on Tuesday. Spain, Sweden, Poland and Germany also showed interest.

The UK said the mission could be run by a joint Franco-British command and would not directly involve the EU, NATO or the US.

Iraq, which counts its bigger neighbor Iran and the US as its main allies, said on Tuesday Tehran had reassured it that there would be freedom of international maritime navigation in the Gulf.

Iran communicated this to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi during a visit by him to Tehran on Monday, the Iraqi oil ministry said in a statement.

“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (gave) reassurances to the Iraqi delegation ... around guaranteeing freedom of navigation in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz and respect for international law guaranteeing that,” the statement said.

Iraq has sought a mediation role to calm US-Iran tension in the region, fearing that any violent escalation between Washington and the Islamic Republic could play out on Iraqi soil, where both Iran-backed militias and US forces operate in close proximity.


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.