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IRAN RELEASED BRITISH BOATS AND CREW

Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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TEHRAN, 23 June (IPS) In a sign of appeasement with London, Iranian Armed Forces announced early Wednesday the release of two British officers and six soldiers that have been arrested on 21 of June after having entered Iranian waters of the Arvand Roud (Iranian name of the Shatl el Arab border river), the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

 

The three boats, of the type of river patrol and their crew of two officers and six soldiers had been on a teaching and training mission of the Iraqi naval border guards when they entered Iranian waters of the border river on Monday.

 

“The Armed Forces Joint Chief of Staff ordered the release of the British servicemen after the British government acknowledged that the three army boats had entered Iranian waters of the Arvand Roud by mistake and after the interrogation of the soldiers confirmed it”, IRNA quoted Deputy Head of Joint Chief of Staff of Iran Armed Forces for Cultural and Defence Affairs Colonel Alireza Afshar as having said.

The three boats, of the type of river patrol and their crew of two officers and six soldiers had been on a teaching and training mission of the Iraqi naval border guards when they entered Iranian waters of the border river on Monday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Colonel Afshar had said that if the investigation of the detained British boat crew determines that they had inadvertently strayed into Iranian territorial waters, then they will be released soon”.

The arrest of the British patrol boats came at a time that Iran is angry at the European Union over the Resolution initiated by Britain, France and Germany at the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the one hand and the Dublin-sponsored statement “deploring” lack of full and clear cooperation with the IAEA concerning its controversial nuclear activities and the degrading situation of human rights.

The British boats were seized after several similar incidents had taken place in the Persian Gulf involving Iranian fishing boats seized by navy patrols of the United Arab Emirates and the Sheykhdom of Qatar, killing one Iranian fisherman.

 
 

It also happened after several similar incidents had taken place in the Persian Gulf involving Iranian fishing boats seized by navy patrols of the United Arab Emirates on 11 June followed by an attack on another Iranian fishing boat by the Qatari navy, killing one Iranian fisherman, both emirates claiming Iranian vessels had entered their territorial waters.

In response, Iranian navy arrested fishing boats belonging to either Persian Gulf emirates, escalating an already degraded political climate due to the UAE’s claims on Iranian islands of Abou Mousa and the Greater and Smaller Tumbs situated strategically at the entrance of the waterway, a claim supported by the Arab league, including Syria, Iran’s only Arab ally during the devastating Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988.

The swift and quick release of the British military boats and their crew is a sign from Tehran that it does not seek further complications in its relations with the European Union, despite the rather harsh Resolution at the IAEA and the statement condemning Islamic Iran on its human rights records, Iranian analyst said. ENDS BRITISH BOATS RELEASED 23604

 


 
IRAN RELEASED BRITISH BOATS AND CREW
British servicemen at an undisclosed Iranian interrogation centre

 


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