Iran’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia told the Mehr News Agency on January 4 that 20 Iranian citizens have been arrested for illegally entering Saudi territory.

Mohammad Javad Rasouli Mahalati stressed that if it is established that the only charge against them is illegal entry, they will be released and returned to Iran in a short time.

Yesterday, Reuters quoted the Saudi coast guard saying that it had detained two Iranian boats in their waters and arrested 21 passengers aboard the two vessels. The report added that the detainees are now being interrogated.

Rasouli Mahalati stressed that the agreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia for the extradition of prisoners does not include those charged with drug trafficking, and such detainees would have to face trial in Saudi Arabia.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have harsh laws for drug-related charges.

Last June, Saudi Arabia executed eight Iranians charged with drug trafficking. The move was condemned by Iranian authorities.