British sailors face trial in Iran

Tehran's ambassador to Moscow renewed a warning that the British sailors arrested in the Gulf last week for illegally entering Iran's waters at six different points before they were arrested, may face trial.

British sailors face trial in Iran

Tehran's ambassador to Moscowrenewed a warning that the British sailors arrested in the Gulf last week forillegally entering Iran'swaters at six different points before they were arrested, may face trial.

Yesterday the Iranian TV released a video showing one of the British navycrew apologizing to the Iranian people for entering their watersillegally.  

"We trespassed without permission," said the crewman, one of 15 arrested byIranian forces.

Commenting on yesterday's footage broadcast on the Iranian television,British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the detention of the British sailorsrisked isolating Tehranfurther.

UK sought to getinternational condemnation over Iran'sarrest of the sailors but couldn't get the UN Security Council to pass a draftstatement.

Iran's Foreign Ministrysent a letter to the British embassy in Tehran,the first written communication between Tehranand London overthe issue, condemning the "illegal act" by British naval personnel.

In the letter, the Ministry said that Tehran "emphasizes the respect for therules and principles of international law concerning the sovereignty andterritorial integrity of states, underlines the responsibility of the Britishgovernment for the consequences of such violation, and calls for the guaranteeto avoid the recurrence of such acts," according to Iran's IRNA newsagency.

Nosigns of bowing

More than a week has passed since the arrest of the 15 British navalpersonnel, which fueled the current standoff between Iran and the West over its nuclearprogram. But the Islamic Republic has so far shown no signs of bowing toWestern pressure to free the British navy personnel, whom UK claims were inIraqi waters when they were arrested, demanding the Iranian government toimmediately release them.

Gholam-Reza Ansari told Russian television Vesti-24 that Iran had begana legal investigation into the incident involving the British sailors.

"They will be tried if there is enough evidence of guilt," IRNAquoted Ansari as saying.

"It is possible that the British soldiers who entered into Iranianwaters will go on trial for taking this illegal action," Ambassador Ansaritold Russian television channel Vesti-24.

"The legal phase concerning these British soldiers has started and ifcharges against them are proven, they will be punished," said Ansari.

"If London truly wants to solve theissue ... it has to send a special committee to Tehran and (do it) throughnegotiations," said Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Broujerdi, who headsparliament's national security and foreign policy commission.

But if London insists on its "illogicalinteraction" with Iran,state radio quoted him as telling Iran's Arabic language television,"there are many ways to answer them back".

Also Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran was considering charging theBritish sailors with illegally entering its waters.

Britain's Foreign Officedidn't confirm or deny news that the British sailors would be tried in Tehran.

"This doesn't change our position, we have made it perfectly clear thatour personnel were in Iraqi waters and we continue to request immediateconsular access to them and their immediate release," said a spokeswomanfor Britain'sForeign Office.

"We want them released immediately. We have made clear they were seizedin Iraqi waters and have demanded consular access. We have not had it,"she claimed.


Mottaki has been further quoted as warning the British government against"media storms and politicization to prevent a further complication of theaffair."

He made his remarks in a telephone conversation with his Australiancounterpart, Alexander Downer.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Embassy in London accusedthe British government of exploiting its position at the UN to escalate thedispute over the sailors' arrest.

"The United Nations Security is abused to issue a press statement on anissue of purely bilateral nature that in no way falls within the purview of theCouncil," the Iranian Embassy in Londonsaid.

It "is in violation of the Security Council's Charter-based mandate andruns counter to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter asregard the respect for territorial integrity of sovereign states," itsaid.

"Attempts to engage the Security Council with this matter of purelybilateral nature are completely unacceptable," the embassy said.

"None of the Council's resolutions permits the British or other forcesto violate the territorial waters of a sovereign state," it said.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16