Tue, Apr 03, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Iran claims British sailors confessed to illegal entry


Iran said yesterday that all 15 British sailors it detained last month had confessed to illegally entering its waters, and broadcast new pictures of two servicemen apparently admitting to their error.

The 14 men and one woman, who were captured in the northern Gulf on March 23, had "all confessed that they illegally entered Iranian territorial waters," state television said, without giving further details.

With diplomatic efforts to solve the standoff still making no headway, Iran infuriated Britain by broadcasting images of two of the 15 detainees pointing to a map and saying how they "apparently" intruded into Iranian waters.

"At about 10 o'clock in the morning, we were seized, apparently at this point here, from their maps, from the GPS [global positioning system] they've shown us, which is inside Iranian territorial waters," said one of the men, Captain Chris Air.

"So far we have been treated very well by the people here. They have looked after us and given us enough food," said Air, dressed in military fatigues with his sleeves rolled up.

As he spoke, Air pointed with a pen to pictures of their frigate and speedboats stuck on to the maps and an area with the handwritten legend "the point where the intruding boats were captured."

Iranian TV had shown the pictures on Sunday without the original sound but yesterday's news bulletins showed the navy personnel talking in English with Farsi subtitles.

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