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EU Calls For Immediate Release of 15 Detained British Servicemembers

30 March 2007

The European Union has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the 15 British sailors and marines detained by Iran last week.

In a statement following a meeting in Germany, EU foreign ministers Friday warned Iran that the EU would take "appropriate measures" if the 15 were not released.

The ministers said all evidence indicates the servicemembers were in Iraqi waters, and that their detention violates international law.

Iran says the Britons were in Iranian waters when they were picked up in the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair criticized Tehran for releasing video of the detainees, saying that parading them around and manipulating them only adds to people's sense of disgust with Iran. He said their safe release is the only solution to the crisis.

Earlier today, Iranian television broadcast video of a male servicemember apologizing for illegally entering Iranian waters.

He was shown with the female detainee and another serviceman. The TV channel previously showed a similar confession from the only female in the group of detainees.

The Iranian embassy in London released a letter, purportedly from the female detainee saying she has been, as the letter put it, "sacrificed" because of the policies of the United States and Britain.

The U.N. Security Council has expressed "grave concern" about the detention, and called for an early resolution to the standoff. Iran has accused the United Nations of meddling.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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