Iran refuses to confirm or deny holding 5 British sailors

Iran refuses to confirm

December 1, 2009 12:11

Iran would neither confirm nor deny Tuesday it is holding five British sailors even though the British government said they were detained by the Iranian navy after their racing yacht was stopped last week in the Persian Gulf. A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said the case was "being investigated" while the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted a commander of the Revolutionary Guard, whose navy patrols the waters, as saying that if the Britons were detained, it was within the Guard's responsibility to do so. The detention could heighten tensions between Iran and major world powers, including Britain, that are demanding a halt to Teheran's controversial nuclear program. The British government said Monday that Iran is holding the five after their yacht, owned by Sail Bahrain, was stopped last Wednesday after straying inadvertently into Iranian waters while en route to Dubai to join the Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race.

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