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Iran Captures 15 British Sailors

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Fifteen British Navy personnel captured at gunpoint by Iranian forces had sailed into Iran's waters illegally, its government has insisted.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett earlier said the sailors and marines had been carrying out routine duties in Iraqi waters.

The servicemen, who are thought to be unharmed, were seized at 1030 local time after boarding a boat in the Gulf.

Diplomats have met in Tehran and London in a bid to defuse the crisis.

Ibrahim Rahimpour, Iran's director general for Western European affairs, said he had met the UK's charge d'affaires, Kate Smith, in Tehran.

He said in a statement that he had delivered a "firm protest from Iran against the illegal entry of British sailors into Iranian territorial waters".

"They were arrested by border guards for investigation and questioning," the statement added.

Mr Rahimpour accused British sailors of having illegally entered Iranian waters "a number of times".

Both the Royal Navy and Mrs Beckett denied that the eight sailors and seven marines had sailed into Iranian waters.

Mrs Beckett demanded the immediate and safe return of the personnel from HMS Cornwall, which has its home port in Plymouth.

Mrs Beckett said: "We understand that they were in two boats that were operating in Iraqi waters in accordance with the Security Council Resolution 1723 in support of the government of Iraq to stop smuggling."

She said Iran's ambassador to the UK, Rasoul Movahedian, had met Foreign Office officials for a "brisk but polite" discussion on Friday afternoon.

The task force's commander, Commodore Nick Lambert, said he had "absolutely no doubt" the vessel had been in Iraqi waters, adding that it could be "a simple misunderstanding at the tactical level."

The incident comes at a time of renewed tensions with Iran over its nuclear programme.

It also follows claims that much of the violence against UK forces in Basra is being engineered by Iranian elements, which Tehran denies.

In 2004, Iran detained eight British servicemen for three days after they allegedly strayed over the maritime border.

The UK claimed the men were "forcibly escorted" into Iranian territorial waters.

The men were paraded blindfolded and made to apologise on Iranian TV before their release was agreed.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6489493.stm

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Hmm....anyone know how the Cornwall might prove it's physical position in the waters before, during and after the Iranian capture? Do the British Navy have GPS evidence to support their claim?

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The british navy was/is the best in the world, i'm sure they had GPS however mistakes do sometimes happen but Iran is acting vey oddly it has to be said. Why arrest them?

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The british navy was/is the best in the world, i'm sure they had GPS however mistakes do sometimes happen but Iran is acting vey oddly it has to be said. Why arrest them?

If they did invade iranian waters (again: "IF") then the iranians surely have the right to arrest them for questioning. Any other country would have acted in a similar fashion. Imagine the opposite situation: military iranian ships sailing in british waters. Would you consider it odd if they were arrested for questioning? No idea what happened here, as of course Iranian Govt will say that they were invading and, of course, British Govt will say they didn't and I doubt we will ever know the truth.

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Yes we will never know for sure. The UK navy must surely know where they were at all times, either via GPS or separate satellite images. It's perfectly possible they were in Iranian territory, though I would have thought it would be unlikely that they would do that so obviously and allow themselves to be arrested like this. Either way, Iran can hardly complain given its international conduct in funding and supporting terrorism around the world.

Edited by Murray Walker

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Yes we will never know for sure. The UK navy must surely know where they were at all times, either via GPS or separate satellite images. It's perfectly possible they were in Iranian territory, though I would have thought it would be unlikely that they would do that so obviously and allow themselves to be arrested like this. Either way, Iran can hardly complain given its international conduct in funding and supporting terrorism around the world.

We dont know that. Just because George W Bush is saying that they are funding terrorism doesnt make it so. In regards to this situation i am pleasently suprised by the English governments reaction as they arnt getting nearly as upset as i thought they would. From all reports the British sailors are being treated well which is also a good thing.

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We dont know that. Just because George W Bush is saying that they are funding terrorism doesnt make it so. In regards to this situation i am pleasently suprised by the English governments reaction as they arnt getting nearly as upset as i thought they would. From all reports the British sailors are being treated well which is also a good thing.

I thought they would react in a stronger way about this too.

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We dont know that. Just because George W Bush is saying that they are funding terrorism doesnt make it so. In regards to this situation i am pleasently suprised by the English governments reaction as they arnt getting nearly as upset as i thought they would. From all reports the British sailors are being treated well which is also a good thing.

What cave do you live in?

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So is there no proof, one way or the other, as to where the Cornwall was? C'mon Brits, these are your countrymen who were captured, where they in Iranian waters or not? If they were, then it's your bad I suppose, because either the captain failed basic sea navigation or he was there deliberately.

If he wasn't in Iranian waters, then Iran has just committed an act of war against Britain. I shall now sit back and see what you Brits are really made of these days. Are you outraged or complacent?

EDIT: Bruce, don't mind ykick. If the Iranian navy had captured Aussies, he'd be singing a different tune ^_^

Edited by Autumnpuma

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Yes we will never know for sure. The UK navy must surely know where they were at all times, either via GPS or separate satellite images. It's perfectly possible they were in Iranian territory, though I would have thought it would be unlikely that they would do that so obviously and allow themselves to be arrested like this. Either way, Iran can hardly complain given its international conduct in funding and supporting terrorism around the world.

Look at this article from when England accidentally invaded Spain back in 2002.

Tell it to the marines... we've invaded the wrong country

An attempt to show off their prowess at dawn assaults went badly wrong for a unit of heavily armed British Royal Marines at the weekend when they accidentally invaded the wrong country.

The platoon of some 30 marines stormed from a landing craft on to the San Felipe beach in the Spanish town of La Linea, carrying 60mm mortars and SA80 assault rifles, and took up defensive positions on the sand.

Instead of being fired on with blank rounds by fellow British soldiers pretending to be the enemy, the marines found themselves being stared at by startled local fishermen.

The enemy, when they appeared, turned out to be two blue-uniformed officers from La Linea's municipal police force, who informed the detachment of marines that they were not, as they had thought, in Gibraltar.

"They were told that they must have made a mistake. This sort of thing does not happen very often here," a police spokesman in La Linea said yesterday.

The marines beat a hasty retreat and went off to find the real Gibraltar. This, locals observed, was easily recognisable because it had a 1,398ft high rock sticking out of it.

Embarrassed Ministry of Defence officials in London admitted yesterday that the invading force, which had come from the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, had got lost in bad weather on Sunday morning and ended up "attacking" a different country.

"It was clearly an embarrassing and unfortunate incident," an MoD spokesman said. "They made their apologies and left."

A La Linea police spokesman said: "We reported the incident to the relevant authorities at the interior ministry."

The local Europa Sur newspaper reported yesterday that Spain was considering making a formal diplomatic complaint to the British embassy in Madrid.

An embassy spokesman said yesterday that no such complaint had been received but admitted that senior diplomats on both sides had discussed the incident.

The British invasion of Spain came just as the two countries were in the middle of a delicate process of trying to sort out their 300-year-old wrangle over the Rock.

Historically it has been the Spaniards who have tried to invade Gibraltar. La Linea itself gets its name from the "firing line" for Spanish cannon. The reversal of roles has done little to ease tensions on either side of la verja, as Gibraltarians call the frontier with Spain.

HMS Ocean had reportedly stopped off in Gibraltar on its way to the Persian Gulf.

The MoD spokesman explained the marines would have guided themselves from the warship to the beach with an ordinary compass.

But he did not think disciplinary action likely: "I am sure some lessons have been learned."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gibraltar/story/...,652616,00.html

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If British forces can accidentally invade Spain then in sure they can accidentally go into Iranian waters.

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EDIT: Bruce, don't mind ykick. If the Iranian navy had captured Aussies, he'd be singing a different tune ^_^

I wont believe Iran is helping terrorists until i see proof and not propaganda and hearsay. As for my reaction if Australians were captured instead of British soldiers that would all depend on if the Australian sailors were in Iranian waters or not.

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I wont believe Iran is helping terrorists until i see proof and not propaganda and hearsay. As for my reaction if Australians were captured instead of British soldiers that would all depend on if the Australian sailors were in Iranian waters or not.

Fair enough.

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Look at this article from when England accidentally invaded Spain back in 2002.

Tell it to the marines... we've invaded the wrong country

An attempt to show off their prowess at dawn assaults went badly wrong for a unit of heavily armed British Royal Marines at the weekend when they accidentally invaded the wrong country.

The platoon of some 30 marines stormed from a landing craft on to the San Felipe beach in the Spanish town of La Linea, carrying 60mm mortars and SA80 assault rifles, and took up defensive positions on the sand.

Instead of being fired on with blank rounds by fellow British soldiers pretending to be the enemy, the marines found themselves being stared at by startled local fishermen.

The enemy, when they appeared, turned out to be two blue-uniformed officers from La Linea's municipal police force, who informed the detachment of marines that they were not, as they had thought, in Gibraltar.

"They were told that they must have made a mistake. This sort of thing does not happen very often here," a police spokesman in La Linea said yesterday.

The marines beat a hasty retreat and went off to find the real Gibraltar. This, locals observed, was easily recognisable because it had a 1,398ft high rock sticking out of it.

Embarrassed Ministry of Defence officials in London admitted yesterday that the invading force, which had come from the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, had got lost in bad weather on Sunday morning and ended up "attacking" a different country.

"It was clearly an embarrassing and unfortunate incident," an MoD spokesman said. "They made their apologies and left."

A La Linea police spokesman said: "We reported the incident to the relevant authorities at the interior ministry."

The local Europa Sur newspaper reported yesterday that Spain was considering making a formal diplomatic complaint to the British embassy in Madrid.

An embassy spokesman said yesterday that no such complaint had been received but admitted that senior diplomats on both sides had discussed the incident.

The British invasion of Spain came just as the two countries were in the middle of a delicate process of trying to sort out their 300-year-old wrangle over the Rock.

Historically it has been the Spaniards who have tried to invade Gibraltar. La Linea itself gets its name from the "firing line" for Spanish cannon. The reversal of roles has done little to ease tensions on either side of la verja, as Gibraltarians call the frontier with Spain.

HMS Ocean had reportedly stopped off in Gibraltar on its way to the Persian Gulf.

The MoD spokesman explained the marines would have guided themselves from the warship to the beach with an ordinary compass.

But he did not think disciplinary action likely: "I am sure some lessons have been learned."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gibraltar/story/...,652616,00.html

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If British forces can accidentally invade Spain then in sure they can accidentally go into Iranian waters.

Accidents can happen. Over here the peace loving Swiss accidentally invaded Liechtenstein last week! :rolleyes:

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We dont know that. Just because George W Bush is saying that they are funding terrorism doesnt make it so.

You never know anything for sure, but I think this is reasonably well established. Wiki confirms it with links to Iranian ministers admitting they have armed Hezbollah in the past. The present Iraqi government and the UK government has said that the violence in Iraq is being supported by Iran, if you trust them more than Bush.

So is there no proof, one way or the other, as to where the Cornwall was? C'mon Brits, these are your countrymen who were captured, where they in Iranian waters or not? If they were, then it's your bad I suppose, because either the captain failed basic sea navigation or he was there deliberately.

If he wasn't in Iranian waters, then Iran has just committed an act of war against Britain. I shall now sit back and see what you Brits are really made of these days. Are you outraged or complacent?

The official line is that they weren't in Iranian waters. The issue is that we can not know for sure that our own government would tell the whole truth but it seems pretty likely to me that the government does know for sure where they were. Getting outraged is not going to help methinks - after all we know the Iranians are killing Brits and Americans on a daily basis already in Iraq, by supporting the insurgents there.

If British forces can accidentally invade Spain then in sure they can accidentally go into Iranian waters.

Yes of course accidents can happen. Nevertheless I think British forces are at least as well trained as any in the world and in the grand scheme of things, both of these incidents are relatively minor.

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If he wasn't in Iranian waters, then Iran has just committed an act of war against Britain. I shall now sit back and see what you Brits are really made of these days. Are you outraged or complacent?

see what we're made of? this isnt a playground fight. Unlike USA, Britain would do anything possible to NOT have to use military force!!

i expect this is all a misunderstanding. American naval forces have already confirmed that the British boats were notin iranian waters.

Yes i'm angry about the situation, our government is also clearly angry about it hence why they've made it 100% clear to the iranians that we want our marines back immediately. There's no need for Britain to be saying "give them back or we're going to bomb you" over what could be just an error.

Anyway even if Iran & GB tension does mount up, George Bush will rub his hands with glee cos it will give him an excuse to send in a whole load of bombing raids (as an ally of GB) and you know he loves it. Of course, he'll tell you that he's sending american troops to intervene "to fight for america's freedom".

Thats all unlikely anyway, I expect the marines will be released today or tomorrow. Whether Iran starts complying with UN over its nuclear programme is a different matter of course

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see what we're made of? this isnt a playground fight. Unlike USA, Britain would do anything possible to NOT have to use military force!!

You sound like a fellow named Chamberlain. Well, Jem, I suppose I have my answer. I somehow expected more backbone from the Brits in the face of an attack on their countrymen but perhaps angry words and harsh letters and some begging by you folks will convince the Iranians to let your countrymen go. How the mighty have fallen.

i expect this is all a misunderstanding. American naval forces have already confirmed that the British boats were notin iranian waters.

No, this is Iran invading Iraqi waters and capturing your countrymen. This is an attack on Britain.

Yes i'm angry about the situation, our government is also clearly angry about it hence why they've made it 100% clear to the iranians that we want our marines back immediately. There's no need for Britain to be saying "give them back or we're going to bomb you" over what could be just an error.

True, if it can be proven they were in Iranian waters, then they got what I would expect. If they weren't in Iranian waters, what possible error could this have been? I'm certain the Iranians knew who they were capturing and why.

Anyway even if Iran & GB tension does mount up, George Bush will rub his hands with glee cos it will give him an excuse to send in a whole load of bombing raids (as an ally of GB) and you know he loves it. Of course, he'll tell you that he's sending american troops to intervene "to fight for america's freedom".

This is truly sad. Do Americans have to lose their lives because you Brits can't fight your own battles? I sincerely hope it doesn't come to the point where we Americans are stuck fighting for you. I sincerely hope you can settle this before we need to.

Thats all unlikely anyway, I expect the marines will be released today or tomorrow. Whether Iran starts complying with UN over its nuclear programme is a different matter of course

Why should Iran comply with anything? Britain has just proven that they will let Iran get away with capturing it's citizens without any consequences, so where's the motivation to stop? However this ends, the Islamic world has just taken the measure of Britain.

Edited by Autumnpuma

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Time to get my feet wet. The Cornwall, in all probability, was in Iraqi waters. The marines, on the other hand, in their inflatables, could well have been in Iranian territory. There is no line on the water to tell you otherwise. To obtain their release by diplomatic means must be the first resort. Yes, Tehran will milk this for all it's worth (remember Gary Powers?), but dropping a few daisy cutters on them? That's no answer. Yet. We may just as well have declared war on the USA for strafing our armoured column. The most recent one, that is. That was an attack on Britain too, wasn't it? Do Brits have to lose their lives because US pilots can't see straight?

Anyway, don't confuse Tony Blair and his shabby band of nincompoops with us Brits (similar to the way a lot of Brits confuse Dubya with Americans) when it comes to possession of a spine.

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You sound like a fellow named Chamberlain. Well, Jem, I suppose I have my answer. I somehow expected more backbone from the Brits in the face of an attack on their countrymen but perhaps angry words and harsh letters and some begging by you folks will convince the Iranians to let your countrymen go. How the mighty have fallen.

I personally think its a good thing that Britian just dont want to jump into another war. History has proven that when needed Britian will go to war but i dont think this is one of those cases.

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I hate political debates. Until we know more about what is going on it would be a bit silly to speculate

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Well Russ, friendly fire happens. The difference is intent. I doubt we intended to harm any British soldiers. Iran certainly intended to capture British soldiers. Intent is a factor in this. Determining intent should dictate your response. I hope the diplomacy works. It didn't for Carter many moons ago, but times change. Perhaps it's enough for Iran to have made their point. Pride is everything in the Middle East and perhaps Iran has taken a measure of pride in this attack. Then again, perhaps Iran is wanting to start a fight. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. I doubt Iran would try this with the American Navy simply because it's unlikely we'd pursue diplomacy first. That is a fine deterrent, I think.

I don't want any harm to come to those marines any more than I do my own countrymen. I've a soft-spot for Brits and Aussies. Your countries have always been our staunchest allies (well, except that little tussle in 1812) and that goes pretty far with me. I know my stance is a bit brash, but Jem's attitude shocked me. I take this news as hard as I'd take it if my own countrymen were captured, so close is England our allies, and to see Jem's Chamberlain-like attitude immediately got me riled. Look at it this way, if I didn't like Brits so much I wouldn't get this riled......

Anyway, don't take me too seriously, I'm really just a dumb, crude, barbaric, gun-toting American.... ^_^

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I don't want any harm to come to those marines any more than I do my own countrymen. I've a soft-spot for Brits and Aussies. Your countries have always been our staunchest allies (well, except that little tussle in 1812) and that goes pretty far with me. I know my stance is a bit brash, but Jem's attitude shocked me. I take this news as hard as I'd take it if my own countrymen were captured, so close is England our allies, and to see Jem's Chamberlain-like attitude immediately got me riled. Look at it this way, if I didn't like Brits so much I wouldn't get this riled......

To be fair to Chamberlain he was just trying to prevent another World War as back in 1938 WW1 was still fresh in the memories of most British citizens. No one wanted another World War. As for the current situation i completely agree with the British response as from all reports the sailors are being treated well and i personally think any military action would be a extreme overreaction. If Iranian forces fired on the British sailors then i would agree but no shots were fired during the incident and its best it stayed that way.

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Yeah, nobody sane wants a war, but there is a time for it. Chamberlain didn't understand that. I also agree with you ykick, and Russ, that diplomacy should be used first. Iran is making a point with this; they want to be the big dog in that area and this is the way to create that perception for them. I was shocked at the lack of outrage from the British forum members, not advocating a military action before a diplomatic one.

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Yeah, nobody sane wants a war, but there is a time for it. Chamberlain didn't understand that. I also agree with you ykick, and Russ, that diplomacy should be used first.

I agree. Im glad that Australia was involved in both WW1 and especially WW2 as they were conflicts which it is worth dying for but im less convinced about majority of the conflicts after WW2 as i feel most of them were unnecessary and could have been solved using diplomacy. I think Iran is a conflict which can be solved using diplomacy.

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Well Russ, friendly fire happens. The difference is intent. I doubt we intended to harm any British soldiers. Iran certainly intended to capture British soldiers. Intent is a factor in this. Determining intent should dictate your response. I hope the diplomacy works. It didn't for Carter many moons ago, but times change. Perhaps it's enough for Iran to have made their point. Pride is everything in the Middle East and perhaps Iran has taken a measure of pride in this attack. Then again, perhaps Iran is wanting to start a fight. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. I doubt Iran would try this with the American Navy simply because it's unlikely we'd pursue diplomacy first. That is a fine deterrent, I think.

I don't want any harm to come to those marines any more than I do my own countrymen. I've a soft-spot for Brits and Aussies. Your countries have always been our staunchest allies (well, except that little tussle in 1812) and that goes pretty far with me. I know my stance is a bit brash, but Jem's attitude shocked me. I take this news as hard as I'd take it if my own countrymen were captured, so close is England our allies, and to see Jem's Chamberlain-like attitude immediately got me riled. Look at it this way, if I didn't like Brits so much I wouldn't get this riled......

Anyway, don't take me too seriously, I'm really just a dumb, crude, barbaric, gun-toting American.... ^_^

No harm no foul Mike. Please excuse my cheap shot (pardon the pun). I agree with you that it's a matter of national pride for the Iranians. A bit of tub thumping and chest beating. And Jem's view surprised me as well, to be honest, although I'm not sure he's waving a piece of paper down there in Bristol.

It appears that the whole point of this episode is to force a trade of detainees. We'll see what happens.

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Well the stakes just got bigger as the Iranians want to charge the Brits as spies...................

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