Iran’s war on pirates could lead to child execution


April’s just one week old, yet the news from Iran is awash with tales of battles at sea, maritime drama, and daring rescues of ships in distress.

A closer look reveals a potential human rights issue attached to these seemingly helpful acts by Iran.


Apr 3, 2012‎

Iran detains 12 pirates after gunfight

Iran news agencies reported that its navy detained at least a dozen pirates in international waters after a two-day fight. Navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayyari is quoted as saying the clashes broke out after pirates took over a commercial ship last week in the Indian Ocean, some 3000 kilometres from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. The vessel was identified as Armis and was destined for Iran, but it was not clear what country’s flag it was flying.

“During the clashes 13 pirates were detained who will be transferred to Iran and they will be delivered to judiciary,” Admiral Sayyari was quoted as saying.

The pirates reportedly killed two non-Iranian crew members of the ship and wounded one during their attack. They have been transferred to Iran and handed to the judiciary, who could sentence them to death. Looking at the photos below, posted by Mehr News, some of these alleged pirates may very well be minors. That won’t make any difference in Iran, where executions are on the rise and human rights conventions are meaningless.

Iran in the past has reportedly detained at least three pirates on one occasion, although Iranian forces have several times released seized ships after clashing with pirates. It would seem that with nuclear talks looming, China is well-placed to provide some positive headlines for its Iranian allies.

Apr 5, 2012‎

China ship insurer deals new blow to Iran oil exports

Malta-flagged Iranian crude oil supertanker ''Delvar'' is seen anchored off Singapore March 1, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong

Malta-flagged Iranian crude oil supertanker ''Delvar'' is seen anchored off Singapore March 1, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Tim Chong

By Randy Fabi (Reuters)

A major Chinese ship insurer will halt indemnity cover for tankers carrying Iranian oil from July, dealing a blow that narrows the insurance options for Tehran’s main export already constricted by payment barriers caused by Western sanctions.

With Western sanctions on Tehran increasing, sources at the China P&I Club told Reuters on Thursday it did not want to stand alone in the market, especially after insurers in Japan and Europe plan to either limit or ban their own coverage for tankers operating in Iran.

This is the first sign that refiners in China, Iran’s top crude buyer, may struggle to obtain the shipping and insurance to keep importing from the Middle Eastern country. Iran’s other top customers — India, Japan and South Korea — are running into similar problems, raising questions on how Tehran will be able to continue to export the bulk of its oil.

Apr 5, 2012‎

Chinese freighter hijacked by pirates, Iran tracking

(Reuters) – A Chinese freighter has been hijacked by pirates off southern Iran, but it is being shadowed by the Iranian navy, the Chinese embassy in Tehran reported on Friday.

The cargo ship, the Xianghuamen, belongs to Nanjing Ocean Shipping Co Ltd in Nanjing, eastern China, the embassy said on its website.

The ship was commandeered on Friday morning in the Gulf of Oman near the south Iranian port of Chabahar, the embassy said.

Iranian navy frees Chinese ship hijacked by pirates

Two warships caught up late Friday with the ship, the Panama-registered Xianghuamen which belongs to a company in eastern China, and the pirates “threw their weapons into the sea and surrendered to the Iranian navy,” Xinhua said.

The ambassador had earlier urged Tehran to make the safety of the crew its “first priority”, adding that the Chinese government and foreign ministry had expressed concern about the incident.

The freighter, which had set off from Singapore and was heading to a port in southwestern Iran, had its engine damaged in the attack and was being repaired, Xinhua said. It will continue to an Iranian port after repairs.


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