On June 19, just around the time it emerged that Israel had been secretly funding Syrian rebel groups and was explicitly aligned with Saudi Arabia in the Syrian conflict, Saudi media reported that the kingdom had captured three members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps from a boat as it approached the kingdom’s offshore Marjan oilfield. The Saudi Center for International Communications added that the boat carried explosives, and the Iranians aboard “intended to carry out terrorist act in Saudi territorial waters” with the Marjan Saudi offshore oilfield allegedly targeted. In other words, Saudi paraded that it had caught what appeared to be three Iranian terrorists belonging to IRGC, suggesting this was an operation ordered from the very top.
Of course, Iran’s take on things was different: Iran’s Tasnim news agency said that Saudi border guards had opened fire on an Iranian fishing boat in the Gulf on Friday, killing a fisherman. It said the boat was one of two Iranian boats fishing in the Gulf that had been pushed off course by waves. So on one side terrorists, on the other fishermen: about par.
Three weeks later, there has been no resolution to this alleged hostage crisis, however in a new development, on Friday Iran’s Fars news agency reported that Iran has returned the favor.
According to the Iranian news agency, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards – this time on the offensive – intercepted a Saudis boat for violating Iran’s territorial waters, and arrested the four passengers on board.
According to the Fars report, the boat came from the Saudi port of Darien and violated Iranian naval water borders where it was stopped by the Revolutionary Guards in the waters of the Bushehr province in southern Iran.
The Iran source told Fars that the IRGC had started an investigation regarding the four passengers on board the boat.
So far there has been no official statement on any Saudi news agency either confirming or denying the report, which likely means that a “behind the scenes” transfer of hostages on both sides is already in place.