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Swaraj thanks Iran for releasing 9 Indian sailors

A day after they were released from jail in Iran, the nine Indian sailors today met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said she was grateful to the Iranian government who acted so swiftly on her request.

The sailors, part of a shipping crew, were in jail for two years on charges of smuggling oil and were released yesterday.

“I am feeling so happy to see them here. I am happy that I could live up to my promise. In the month of August Sushil’s (one of the sailors) sister along with her mother had come to meet me and requested me to bring her brother back home before Rakhi. It was only 10 days left for Rakhi, so at least I am happy that if not on Rakhi, but before Bhaidooj we could bring them back,” Swaraj said.

She also noted that they have already served two years of punishment but the penalty imposed upon them was so high that even if they had lived their entire lives in prison, they could not have paid the fine amount.

“We are thankful to the government of Iran. When their foreign minister had visited India, we had put forth the issue of their release,” the minister added.

During the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in August, Swaraj had raised the issue and requested the release of these Indians.