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Do The Brits Have An Iranian Hostage Crisis?

 
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David R Gold



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 21089

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 2:45 am    Post subject: Do The Brits Have An Iranian Hostage Crisis? Reply with quote

My best guess is, this will not spiral out of control. The Brits will be turned over sooner rather than later. AP

http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/site/premium/access-registered.intercept
Britain Demands Iran Free Seized Sailors

By JIM KRANE
Associated Press Writer

March 23, 2007, 3:44 PM CDT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Naval forces of Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guards captured 15 British sailors and marines at gunpoint Friday in the Persian Gulf -- an audacious move coming during heightened tensions between the West and Iran.

U.S. and British officials said a boarding party from the frigate HMS Cornwall was seized about 10:30 a.m. during a routine inspection of a merchant ship inside Iraqi territorial waters near the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway.

Iran's Foreign Ministry insisted the Britons were operating in Iranian waters and would be held "for further investigation," Iranian state television said.

A U.S. Navy official in Bahrain, Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl, said Iran's Revolutionary Guard naval forces were responsible and had broadcast a brief radio message saying the British party was not harmed.

In London, the British government summoned the Iranian ambassador to the Foreign Office, and Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said he "was left in no doubt that we want them back."

Iranian TV quoted an Iranian Foreign Ministry official as saying the top British diplomat in Tehran had been called in to receive Tehran's protest of the "illegal entry" into Iranian waters.

"This is not the first time that British military personnel during the occupation of Iraq have entered illegally into Iran's territorial waters," the unidentified official was quoted as saying.

Britain's Defense Ministry said the Royal Navy personnel were "engaged in routine boarding operations of merchant shipping in Iraqi territorial waters" and had completed a ship inspection when they were accosted by Iranian vessels.

The eight Royal Navy sailors and seven Royal Marines were part of a task force that protects Iraqi oil terminals and maintains security in Iraqi waters under authority of the U.N. Security Council.

The Cornwall's commander, Commodore Nick Lambert, said the frigate lost communication with the boarding party, but a helicopter crew saw Iranian naval vessels approach.

"I've got 15 sailors and marines who have been arrested by the Iranians and my immediate concern is their safety," he told British Broadcasting Corp. television.

Lambert said he hoped it was a "simple mistake" stemming from the long dispute between Iraq and Iran over demarcating their territorial waters just off the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab, a waterway that divides the two countries.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the Bush administration was monitoring events. "The British government is demanding the immediate safe return of the people and equipment and we are keeping watch on the situation," Snow said.

The incident occurred as the U.N. Security Council debates expanding sanctions against Iran seeking to force Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment. The U.S. and other nations suspect Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. Iran denies that and insists it won't halt the program.

Iran's leaders also have denied allegations by the U.S., Britain and others that Iranians are arming Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq.

Hours before the seizure of the Royal Navy team, British Lt. Col. Justin Maciejewski told BBC Radio 4's "Today" program from the Iraqi city of Basra that Iranians provided weapons and money to militants who are attacking British troops in southern Iraq.

The U.S. military has leveled similar charges, saying Iranians send arms to Iraqi extremists, including sophisticated roadside bombs.

This week, two commanders of an Iraqi Shiite militia told The Associated Press in Baghdad that hundreds of Iraqi Shiites had crossed into Iran for training by the elite Quds force, a branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard thought to have trained Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

With tensions running high, the United States has bolstered its naval forces in the Persian Gulf in a show of strength directed at Iran. A strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis recently joined a similar force led by the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that with so much military hardware in the Gulf, a small incident like Friday's could escalate into a dangerous confrontation.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, warned this week that if Western countries "treat us with threats and enforcement of coercion and violence, undoubtedly they must know that the Iranian nation and authorities will use all their capacities to strike enemies that attack."

The seizure of two Royal Navy inflatable boats took place just outside the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, a 125-mile channel dividing Iraq from Iran. Its name means Arab Coastline in Arabic, and Iranians call it Arvandrud -- Persian for Arvand River.

A 1975 treaty recognized the middle of the waterway as the border. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein canceled the treaty five years later and invaded Iran, triggering an eight-year war.

"It's been in dispute for some time," said Aandahl, the U.S. Navy official in Bahrain. "We've been operating there for a couple of years and we know the lines very well. This was a compliant boarding, this happens routinely. What's out of the ordinary is the Iranian response."

In June 2004, six British marines and two sailors were seized by Iran in the Shatt al-Arab. They were presented blindfolded on Iranian television and admitted entering Iranian waters illegally, then released unharmed after three days.

Vali Nasr, a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, suggested Friday's detention could be connected to the arrest of five Iranians in a U.S.-led raid in northern Iraq in January. The U.S. said the five included a Revolutionary Guard general.

"I think Iran sees this as retaliation for the arrest of their own personnel. They have repeatedly said that they want their personnel released," Nasr said. "So they are either signaling that they can do the same thing or they are trying to bring attention to it."
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defendtherealm



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 245
Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex, United Kingdom.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David,

Good afternoon / evening. I've been away for quite some time...I've been a busy man! Still very busy, I just guess I need to manage my time well!

I believe the Iranians have their own domestic uses for this abduction of our sailors.

It's just a huge stunt like the last abduction. I believe that they are just trying to fool the Iranian masses into thinking that the enemy is not that formidable.

In future, I suppose our navy is going to have to treble their efforts to ensure no abductions will happen in future.

If I was Mr Blair, I would be waiting until Monday. Come Monday, I would give the Iranians 48 hours notice to get our sailors back to us and that come Wednesday morning, if the sailors aren't back in UK hands, British submarines will be firing cruise missles at their military installations...with a few hitting government buildings in Tehran for good measure.

I couldn't care less about Irans nuclear programme. If she ever uses nukes, we simply flatten the country. I have never believed in striking first, but I do believe that at least my own country should make sure that the Iranian government really does end up regretting what they have done...and I believe in doing that, by making sure the Iranians pay a heavy price military wise, with little or even no civilian damage.

There are thousands of Iranian military targets, that us Brits can attack without costing the lives of a single Iranian civilian.....
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David R Gold



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 21089

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back my old friend. Good to have you back in the fold.

I was discussing this today on the radio. Listeners agree with your take. Set a deadline. If no release the "Coalition" responds. Not just the UK.

If Lady Thatcher was still PM I'd feel much more encouraged. London Telegraph

Iran raises stakes in sailor crisis
SOURCE
By Gethin Chamberlain
Last Updated: 3:06pm GMT 24/03/2007


Marines seized by Iranian guards
Click to enlarge
# Marines seized by Iranian guards

Iran has said that British naval personnel seized at gunpoint in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway had confessed to illegally entering Iranian waters.

"The investigation, and confessions that we have, shows they have been arrested in Iranian waters," an armed forces commander told state radio.

The official, Deputy Commander Alireza Afshar, also said the Britons were in good health.
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"The investigation is going on and they are healthy and there is no problem," he said.

The 15 captured British naval personnel, including one woman, were today reported to have been moved to Teheran for questioning as Iran raised the stakes in the escalating diplomatic crisis.

The sailors and marines would be asked to explain their “aggressive action” in entering Iranian waters, the Iranian Fars news agency reported.

British commanders have insisted that their forces were in Iraqi waters in the Shatt al-Arab waterway south of Basra when they were surrounded by Iranian gunboats yesterday.

The border between Iran and Iraq runs along the waterway and the Iranians say that British had crossed onto their side, a claim supported by Brigadier General Hakim Jassim, the Iraqi military commander of the country's territorial waters.

"We were informed by Iraqi fishermen after they had returned from sea that there were British gunboats in an area that is out of Iraqi control," he said.

A British diplomat in Teheran denied the charge: "We still maintain they were in Iraqi waters when they were picked up."

Britain has demanded the immediate release of its forces and is expected to receive the backing of the European Union later today.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Berlin had obtained official confirmation that the troops were under arrest for an alleged border violation.

Meanwhile, a Foreign Office minister held fresh crisis talks with the Iranian ambassador.

Lord Triesman spent more than an hour demanding the safe return of the sailors and Royal Marines.

He also used the talks - described as "frank and civil" - to seek assurances about the group's welfare and to allow them to be seen by consular staff.

Earlier, the Iranian foreign ministry said there could be no excuses for entering Iranian territory.

The IRNA news agency said the ministry had accused British forces of “illegal and interfering” entry into Iranian waters.

That was a “suspicious act and against international laws and rules”, the agency added.

It quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini as saying: "Violating the territory of other countries and non-permitted entrance ... show unusual aims and is against international treaties and there are no excuses for ignoring and not accepting the responsibility for that."

Britain said two boatloads of Royal Navy sailors and marines had searched a merchant vessel on a UN approved mission in Iraqi waters when Iranian gunboats encircled and captured them.

Families and colleagues of the 15 captured personnel waiting anxiously for news.

The 15 - 14 men and one woman - were all stationed aboard the British warship HMS Cornwall, which is the base for coalition maritime security patrols in the northern Gulf area.

A BBC reporter on board ship said there was a "high level of anxiety" among the crew over the fate of their colleagues.

The incident is similar to one in 2004 in which eight British servicemen spent three nights in the hands of Iranian Revolutionary Guards before being released unharmed.

The row blew up as the United Nations Security Council was preparing to vote later today on imposing new arms and financial sanctions on Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.
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defendtherealm



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 245
Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex, United Kingdom.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Baroness Thatcher was still PM, she would have lost her patience by this morning...down to sleep depravation...that woman wouldn't have been able to sleep at night in this kind of situation.
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Texred



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 320

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Her Majesty has a hostage crisis. God bless HER and guide HER in the negotiations, and if it comes to shooting, may Almighty God, the Trinity grant HER a speedy victory over the infidels that run Iran.
God Save The Queen
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Fox



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 2081
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a time when the Brits would have rightly considered this an absolute act of war against them and acted accordingly.
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