News ID: 276211
Published: 0225 GMT November 01, 2020

Foreign Ministry pursuing repatriation of bodies of Iranians drowned in English Channel

Foreign Ministry pursuing repatriation of bodies of Iranians drowned in English Channel

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said efforts are underway to repatriate the bodies of members of an Iranian family who died trying to cross the English Channel.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry in a statement on Saturday night said that the country’s diplomatic mission and consular affairs office in Paris have launched efforts to facilitate the repatriation of bodies of the victims to Iran.

The efforts began immediately after the tragic incident and are still in progress, it added, according to Tasnim News Agency.

The statement also dismissed certain media reports about the incident, saying the authentic news would be released only by the Foreign Ministry. 

The family who died attempting to cross the Channel on Tuesday morning has been named.

Rasoul Iran-Nezhad, his wife, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, both 35, and their children: Anita, 9, Armin, 6, and 15-month-old Artin, were the latest of almost 300 asylum seekers to die crossing the Channel over the past two decades, according to the Guardian.

British media say they drowned as they tried to reach Britain by boat after paying smugglers thousands of euros.

In Sardasht, the northwestern Iranian city that the family had left in the summer to begin their journey to the UK, the relatives of the Iran-Nezhad family struggled to comprehend their loss.

His cousin Jalal Iran-Nezhad had been in contact with his cousin until the final days before his journey. “In France, they called me and said, ‘It is so dangerous to get into the UK, but we don’t want to give up as we can see the UK, and it’s near to us.’ But sadly smugglers are playing with the lives of so many people there.

“At the last minute, as they were getting on the boat, Rasoul called his sister and said, ‘We are OK here, getting into a boat, pray for us. We’ll call you as soon as we reach the UK. Don’t worry we have almost accomplished our journey.’”

Authorities in France said the overloaded boat did not even make it out of French waters before it sank near Dunkirk. Fifteen people were rescued, but Rasoul died in the water and his family was pronounced dead shortly after they were pulled out, according to accounts by officials.



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