Saturday, March 24, 2007

Seized Britons face prosecution after Iran claims 'confession'

Iran has moved the 15 British seamen it has held in custody since Friday to Tehran for interrogation, claiming that the sailors and Royal Marines had `confessed' to entering its waters illegally and would now be prosecuted.

In London on Saturday, Foreign Office undersecretary Lord Triesman spent more than an hour with the Iranian ambassador to London, Rasoul Movahedian, demanding the safe return of the 15 , asking for assurance of their welfare and demanding consular access to the prisoners.

The British Marines and sailors were seized at gunpoint in Iraqi waters after having completed a routine search of a merchant ship yesterday in the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and the British Ministry of Defense reiterated that the troops were in Iraqi waters at the time they were taken prisoner.

The British officials and US officials, said that the two high-powered British inflatable boats were 'miles' inside Iraqi waters when they were surrounded by Iranian patrol boats on Friday.

Aside from a report and photographs by a US heliocopter inthe area, theres an eyewitness account from an Iraqi fisherman who told Reuters that he saw the capture of the servicemen, and that they were taken captive on the Iraqi side of the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesmouth, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, claimed in a statement that the Britons were engaged 'in illegal and suspicious' activities, and confirmed that 14 men and one woman had been taken to Tehran for `investigation'.

This could be a setup for espionage charges, and we may be in store for a show trial and another hostage crisis.

It will be interesting to see how Britain handles this. To say the least...


Anonymous said...

This is oddly remniscent of 1979. For Britain's sake, I hope Prime Minister Blair isn't as weak as Carter was.

Clovis Sangrail said...

I don't think he is. The British style in these situations is to escalate slowly. I'm just praying that they do continue to escalate.

realhawker said...

Eventually, you can not just negotiate with empty words.... eventually you must back up your words with some action. I have not seen much action from most of Europe in a long time.

I don't see how negotiating is going to work with Iran, seeing how they TOTALLY complied with every other UN & European sanction or mandate.