The US has offered USD 7m to the pirates, who hijacked an Iranian ship in the Gulf of Aden, to receive entry permission and search the vessel.
The hijackers have yet to respond to the USD 7m offer, but a source close to the pirates told Press TV that the pirates are likely to accept the bribe and allow the Americans onboard the vessel.
The US the naval fleet off the Somali coast alleges that The Iran Diyanat was carrying ‘uranium and chemical weapons’.
Iran’s shipping company, however, has declared that the Iranian bulk carrier hired by a German company had no weapons or uranium on board and was carrying 42,500 tons of minerals and industrial products.
Ibrahim Mohammad-Nabi, Deputy CEO of Iran’s shipping company also confirmed that no Russian or Syrian nationals were aboard the vessel, rejecting claims made by another Puntland minister that an international crew operates the ship.
Pirates have stepped up attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden, as Somalia’s current transitional government has failed to shackle the pirates in the key commercial shipping lane.