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یکشنبه ۱۴ آذر ۱۳۹۵ تهران ۱۱:۵۷ - ۴ دسامبر ۲۰۱۶

Iran Releases Royal Navy Detainees, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Confirms


Iran released eight British marines detained last Monday in Shatt al Arab wasters near the Iraqi border, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirmed on Thursday. The eight were handed over to the British embassy personnel after being chartered to Tehran airport from Bandar Mahshahr. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ navy had confiscated the men’s boats, weapons and equipment, which included global navigation devices Iran released eight British marines detained last Monday in Shatt al Arab wasters near the Iraqi border, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirmed on Thursday. “Obviously, I’m very pleased indeed as I know their families and service colleagues will be. These things do sometimes take time. Would that it had taken less, but at least now we can be pleased that they’re happy and released. I’m told that they are in very good spirits and were well cared for,” he said. Despite mounting tensions, he defended as wise Britain’s policy of “engaging with Iran,” “We have diplomatic relations with Iran, we work hard on those relationships and sometimes the relationships are complicated,” he said. "But I’m in no doubt that all that our policy of engagement with the government of Iran is the best approach,” he said. The eight were handed over to the British embassy personnel after being chartered to Tehran airport from Bandar Mahshahr. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ navy had confiscated the men’s boats, weapons and equipment, which included global navigation devices, state TV monopoly said. It added that the kind of equipment the men were carrying distinguished them from ordinary sailors. However, secretary of supreme national security Hassan Rowhani said interrogations showed that the men had no ill intentions and had lost their way into Iranian waters. British and Iranian officials had announced an agreement to release the men on Wednesday, but negotiations continued for 24 more hours. Observers say by arresting the eight, Iran wanted to assert its right to half of the Shatt al Arab waterway, a week before an Iraqi government will take over from the coalition forces. The timely release of the British captives would be sign of strong Tehran-London relations, former British diplomat and Iran scholar Christopher Randal tells Radio Farda’s London correspondent Shahran Tabari. Iran is sensitive about its security and territorial integrity, and the presence of coalition forces on its borders has made it even more sensitive, he adds.
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