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Iran says it won’t prevent return of Russian sailor from seized ship — MFA

The Russian Embassy in Tehran keeps the issue under special control, Maria Zakharova said

MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. Tehran says it does not plan to hold Russian sailor Timofey Kolchanov, who was aboard the seized commercial ship MSC Aries, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a commentary.

"The vessel has been moved to the port of Bandar Abbas. The Russian national was given the opportunity to contact his family," the diplomat added. "During a telephone call between the two countries’ foreign ministers on April 14, the Iranian side said that it had no claims to the Russian sailor, promising to provide consular access to him shortly, as well as not to prevent his return to his homeland if he wants so," Zakharova said.

The Russian Embassy in Tehran keeps the issue under special control, the diplomat said. "After receiving the necessary approvals from local government agencies, consular officials will personally visit Timofey Kolchanov," she added.

On April 13, Iran's IRNA news agency reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC, an elite unit of Iran's Armed Forces) Navy seized the commercial ship MSC Aries in the Strait of Hormuz. According to the Associated Press, the container ship MSC Aries flies the Portuguese flag. The London-based company Zodiac Maritime, which is part of the Zodiac Group of Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer, confirmed to TASS its connection with the seized vessel. According to data available from the MarineTraffic service, the container ship MSC Aries was on its way from the Emirati port of Khalifa to India's Nhava Sheva.