September 24, 2023

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Sri Lanka releases nine Iranian sailors

TEHRAN- Nine Iranian sailors have been released from jails in Sri Lanka following an agreement between the foreign ministries of the two nations and in accordance with bilateral humanitarian cooperation.

For the first time in consular relations between the two countries, the Iranian inmates from Chabahar city in the southeastern region of Sistan-Baluchestan were released following efforts by the Islamic Republic’s embassy in Colombo and an order from Sri Lankan authorities.

The detainees were handed over to Iran’s embassy in Colombo and are expected to come home soon.

According to the agreements established between the two nations and as a result of efforts by the Iranian Foreign Ministry and Judiciary, Sri Lanka is set to extradite two Iranian prisoners to Iran within the next few days.

Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ali Sabry agreed to release the inmates of both countries based on existing accords and a humanitarian approach.

The two nations’ senior diplomats also agreed to establish a joint consular committee in this respect.

During a joint press conference, the top Iranian diplomat called the visit “a turning point in Iran-Sri Lanka ties”.

Amir Abdollahian said the two foreign ministers had discussed cooperation at regional and international levels and will be expanding ties in the fields of trade, tourism, science, and culture.

“During our meeting, we discussed new possible agreements and also emphasized the implementation of the ones that have already been signed,” said the top diplomat.

The foreign minister concluded his talks by reiterating the Iranian government’s priorities, saying that Tehran attaches great significance to cooperation with fellow Asian countries.

He hoped that different nations in the continent can collaborate in a friendly and constructive manner.

Sabry, for his part, hailed Sri Lanka’s good and friendly relations with Iran. Before his visit, Sri Lankan media reported that the foreign minister would be trying to rejuvenate his country’s presence in the Iranian tea market.  

Also during a meeting between President Ebrahim Raisi and Sabry, the president said Iran has made “eye-catching progress” in science and technology despite the harsh sanctions and it is ready to “share these capabilities with the friendly nations, such as Sri Lanka.”

Raisi reaffirmed Iran’s willingness to share knowledge with Sri Lanka in the domains of science and technology.

President Raisi also praised the two nations’ cordial and rising relations.

He also emphasized Sri Lanka’s enormous potential while pointing out that other countries can advance and thrive without “colonial and self-interested foreign interference.”

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