INTRODUCTION: France offered political asylum on Tuesday (18 August) to the hijackers who commandeered the Iranian missile boat, Tabarzin, off the Mediterranean port of Marseilles.
GV AERIAL missile patrol boat
GV Helicopter flies over vessel
GV Off Marseilles, a French escort warship shadows
GV Speedboat, carrying Iranian sailors ferries them to motor launch
GV Iranian sailors on board French motor launch (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: France offered political asylum on Tuesday (18 August) to the hijackers who commandeered the Iranian missile boat, Tabarzin, off the Mediterranean port of Marseilles. The Iranian hijackers were threatening to blow the vessel up, unless they were given permission to stay in France.
The Iranians coasted into French waters, watched closely by spotter planes and helicopters which hovered over Tabarzin's bridge. The anchor was dropped about eight kilometres (five miles) off Marseilles, where French authorities initially ordered the hijackers back to international waters.
Closely shadowed by a French warship, the hijackers agreed to allow 31 sailors loyal to the Iranian government to go ashore.
Two members of the crew, the captain and second-in-command, decided to stay with the hijackers, who were heavily armed. They commandeered the vessel off the Spanish coast on Thursday (13 August). It's understood they took over the Tabarzin as a protest against the present Teheran Government. The offer of political asylum came after there were threats to destroy the missile boat. French authorities said the hijackers would get full protection if they came ashore peacefully.