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Iran Says All 15 British Captives Confess to Entering Iranian Waters

02 April 2007

Iran says all 15 British sailors and marines in Iranian custody have confessed to illegally entering Iranian waters.

The statement was made Monday on a state-run news channel, but the station did not give a source for the claim.

The broadcast came after government-run Al-Alam television showed Sunday two British men in military uniforms pointing to a map of the Persian Gulf and saying the 15 Britons had intruded Iranian waters.

One of the men, Captain Chris Air, was shown pointing to a spot on the map where he said the 15 were captured (at 10 a.m. local time) on March 23 in Iranian territory.

He said the 15 detainees - a group that includes one woman - have been treated well by the Iranians.

Britain's Foreign Office says it is "unacceptable" for the footage to be shown.

Iran says the 15 British personnel were in Iranian waters when they were captured. Britain says they were in Iraqi waters.

British Defense Secretary Des Browne said London is directly communicating with Iran to win the release of the 15 Britons.

About 200 Iranian students staged a protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran Sunday over the 15 Britons' alleged violation of Iranian waters. The students threw rocks and firecrackers at the building. There were no reports of injuries.

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

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