VARIOUS: Iranian state TV airs capture of British sailors, a second letter from woman sailor is released. Blair vows to step up pressureRecord ID: 313731
- Title: VARIOUS: Iranian state TV airs capture of British sailors, a second letter from woman sailor is released. Blair vows to step up pressure
- Date: 30th March 2007
- Summary: (BN13) LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 29, 2007) (REUTERS) HAND-WRITTEN LETTER BY FAYE TURNEY TO HOUSE OF COMMONS / PAN DOWN
- Reuters ID: LVAAL6J61CMKUTR56VIE3PBJHZHV
- Duration: 00:00:26
- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: Iranian television showed footage on Thursday (March 29) of what it said was the operation to seize 15 British naval personnel last week and also what it reported was evidence the Britons were in Iranian territory. TV footage showed a Revolutionary Guards boat at sea closing in on what it said was a British vessel. One voice, apparently from a boat where the film was taken, shouts: "Are they British?" Another answers: "They are British, they are British."
State TV showed a military officer named only as Setaieh indicating several points on a map where he said the Britons entered Iran.
"On March 23, 2007 the British Marines entered territorial Iranian waters, and the individuals became stationary at this point, and were detained. After the investigation, and based on the information that we got from the GPS which we seized from them, it was clear that they had violated Iranian waters before. As you can see on the map, they have violated the waters of the Islamic Republic of Iran and consequently were arrested and detained at this point," he said.
In a British television interview, British Prime Minister reaffirmed the British sailors were not in Iranian waters when captured, and he expected their immediate release.
"What we've got to do is to be very patient about this, to put the welfare of our people first, not to do this in a very heavy, confrontational way but however, to be absolutely clear with the Iranians that the pressure will be stepped up, bit by bit by bit until they do what they should have done right at the very outset when we showed them the original coordinates they gave were actually inside Iraq," said Blair.
The prime minister's comments came as the Iranian embassy in London released a second letter it said was from the British woman captive Faye Turney in which she calls on Britain to start withdrawing its troops from Iraq.
Earlier, Britain began actively seeking international help to isolate Iran following the stand-off over the capture of those 15 military personnel in the Gulf and after Iran put off the planned release of Turney.
The European Union's Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, told the European Parliament on Thursday that he had spoken briefly to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at an Arab summit in Riyadh a day earlier and stressed that the EU as a whole found the detention of the British sailors captured in the Gulf unacceptable.
"We hope that in the next few days and weeks we shall be able, with the leaders of Iran, not just to solve the problem with the United Kingdom but to begin once again negotiations that could lead us to a definitive solution to this (nuclear) problem. There is no alternative, ladies and gentlemen, and we must resume negotiations as soon as possible."
But the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani, said earlier on Thursday that Iran would delay the release of Turney if Britain made a "fuss" about the case.
"During the investigation, we even said the grounds were ready for the release of a woman amongst this group (the British sailors), however if we are faced with altercations and inappropriate behaviour from British officials, then this (the release) will be suspended, and it will not take place," Larijani said on Iranian state television.
Britain has asked for consular access. Iran has said it will be granted when the investigation is complete.
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