Iran: Female sailor won't be released 'for the time being'

Iran negotiator: British leaders have miscalculated issue; UK denies troops surrounding Basra consulate, says shots fired in retaliation.

March 29, 2007 14:54
1 minute read.

Following the crisis over Iran's seizure of 15 British sailors and marines,Iranian state television said Thursday that British sailor Faye Turney will not be released "for the time being," despite anticipations throughout the morning. Speaking on Iranian state radio, Iran's top negotiator Ali Larjani said that "British leaders have miscalculated this issue." UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's office strongly condemned the screening of the video of the captured British service personnel, in which Ms. Turner had supposedly admitted that the crew had trespassed into Iranian waters. In other developments, the Iranian consul in Basra alleged that British soldiers had surrounded his office in the southern city and fired shots into the air. Britain denied the report. The Ministry of Defense in London said the shooting was an exchange of gunfire after British troops on a foot patrol near the Iranian consulate were ambushed. The ministry denied any aggressive action against the Iranian consulate. But Iranian Consul-General Mohammed Ridha Nasir Baghban said British forces had engaged in a "provocative act" that "could worsen the situation of the British sailors." Baghban claimed British forces surrounded the consulate at about 10:00 a.m. and fired randomly into the air. "British forces should rely on wisdom and not react because of the [sailors'] detention. This reflects negatively on bilateral relations," Baghban said in a telephone interview. Earlier Thursday, Britain asked the Security Council to support a call for the immediate release of detainees, saying in a statement they were operating in Iraqi waters under a mandate from the Security Council and at the request of Iraq. On Wednesday, Britain announced it was freezing relations with Iran.

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