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Saudi rescues Iran tanker

View of a crude oil importing port [REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo]
Oil tanker at a port [REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo]

Saudi Arabia's coastguard rescued an Iranian oil tanker which had broken down when its engine failed in the Red Sea, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

SPA said the "Happiness 1" vessel was found 70 kilometres southwest of Jeddah Islamic Port and the captain had requested a tow due to "engine failure and loss of control".

The Iranian oil ministry news agency, SHANA, confirmed the report and added that no oil had leaked into the Red Sea.

Its crew of 24 Iranians and two Bangladeshis were unharmed.

The request for assistance was made by Iran through the Saudi delegation to the United Nations in New York.

READ: Saudi Arabia welcomes US decision to cancel sanctions waivers for Iranian oil

Riyadh broke ties with Tehran in 2016 after Iranian protesters set fire to Saudi Arabia's diplomatic mission in response to their execution of a prominent Saudi Shia cleric.

"The kingdom received an official request for help, through its permanent delegation to the United Nations in New York, from the Iranian charge d'affaires in the Iranian delegation," SPA quoted a coastguard spokesman as saying.

"All necessary precautions were taken for the safety of the crew and to ensure there is no environmental damage and to provide assistance."

Iran and Saudi Arabia have a long history as adversaries in regional conflicts across the Middle East. They both backed opposing sides in the ongoing unrest in Yemen and Syria.

READ: Turkey slams US move to end waivers on Iran oil imports

On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, gestured towards the possibility of starting a dialogue with the kingdom.

"We have extremely good relations with Qatar, Kuwait, Oman," Zarif told reporters in attendance at the Asian Cooperation Dialogue in Doha, Qatar.

"We hope to have the same type of relations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates."

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IranMiddle EastNewsSaudi Arabia
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