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.


Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2020

Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

  • COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continue to fall, officials say

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who took part in this year’s Hajj must continue wearing electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.

The bracelet is designed to monitor pilgrims’ adherence to quarantine, as well as monitoring and recording their health status through the “Tatamman” app.
Pilgrims were required to quarantine before embarking on the Hajj and wore the bracelets to ensure they were obeying the self-isolation rules as part of strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The country continues to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. Recorded infections remain below the 2,000 mark for the 10th day in a row. The Kingdom reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the number of those infected to 280,093 so far.
There are currently 35,091 active cases and six patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number to 2,017. There were 32 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,949.
There were 1,972 new recoveries recorded, raising the total number of recoveries to 242,053.
More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. The total number of PCR tests conducted to date exceeds 3.47 million.

INNUMBERS

280,093 COVID-19 cases

242,053 Recoveries

35,091 Active cases

2,949 Total deaths

3.47m PCR tests

The Ministry of Health has been carrying out daily visits to health institutions in order to assess their level of commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, such as ensuring that staff adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and adopt the health practices and crisis management mechanisms recommended by authorities to protect patients and staff.
Teams have been dispatched to supervise the compliance of health facilities’ quarantine centers across Saudi Arabia and stepped up their visits to government and private hospitals to ensure their compliance with health protocols, sample transfers and staff testing as well as ensuring that all routine surgeries are stopped.
More than 5,000 violations have been recorded and violators were referred to committees. More than 150 facilities were temporarily shut down by the ministry until the proper protocols were implemented and the violations were fixed. A number of institutions were able to resume operations after settling fines.