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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

London asks Moscow to help release 15 sailors detained in Iran

RIA Novosti

26/03/2007 17:22 RYAZAN, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - Britain has asked Russia to help win the release of 15 sailors detained by Iranian authorities March 23 for allegedly entering Iranian waters.

British Ambassador Anthony Brenton said his country is holding consultations with Russia on the issue and hopes the sailors will soon return, stressing that the U.K. is doing everything possible to secure their release.

Brenton answered questions while participating in the presentation of a project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Ryazan hydropower plant, which the U.K. supplied with special equipment.

The British Ministry of Defense said Iran detained 15 Royal Navy sailors and marines from the HMS Cornwall in Iraqi territorial waters, which in accordance with a UN Security Council mandate under Resolution 1723 was inspecting ships in the Persian Gulf.

Tehran said the Britons, with one woman among them, were detained in Iranian waters. Iran's Foreign Ministry accused the Royal Navy of illegally entering Iranian territorial waters.

The Ministry of Defense said the detainees were in satisfactory condition.

The British Cabinet and Foreign Office denied any illegal penetration into Iranian waters.

Iranian television said Monday the Islamic Republic does not intend to exchange the Britons detained in the Persian Gulf for Iranian diplomats arrested earlier in Iraq.

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