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UK sailors' issue to be settled by 'self-restraint, respect'

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, March 27, IRNA
Iran - UK
The issue of violation of Iranian territories in the Persian Gulf by British marines will be settled through respect to the rules and self-restraint, Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"Media propaganda and comments by non experts which at times have been provocative, will not contribute to settlement of the violation of Iran's naval territories," Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini told IRNA.

He stressed that the 15 British military personnel who were detained on Friday had illegally intruded Iranian territorial waters, rejecting claims by officials in London that they were in Iraqi waters.

Also emphasising that the detainees have been treated respectfully based on Islamic and humanitarian principles, he said, "With the end of initial phases of inquiry and examinations, the British Embassy and its Consular Section will be able to contact these forces".

To a question, Hosseini said, "Stirring remarks will not only fail in contributing to the issue but will also distress the normal trend for evaluation of the case".

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray has supported Iran's decision to arrest the UK marines in the Persian Gulf last week.

"In international law the Iranian government were not out of order in detaining foreign military personnel in waters to which they have a legitimate claim," said Murray, also a previous head of Foreign Office maritime section, carrying out negotiations on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

While working for the Foreign Office, Murray was also head of the UK's Embargo Surveillance Centre, analyzing Iraqi attempts to evade sanctions and providing information to UK military forces and to other governments to effect physical enforcement of the embargo.

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