All at sea in dire straits

What are the wily Iranians up to? Are they intentionally trying to provoke an international incident or is their version of events correct? Or is this payback for their Iraqi consulate staff being kidnapped by the United Stupids?

Claiming they were in Iranian waters, Iran has captured 15 British seamen, who have supposedly confessed their transgression. The United Kooks government says their ships were in Iraqi waters.

The Iranian military says it can prove that British naval personnel captured in the Gulf yesterday entered Iran illegally.

A senior officer in the armed forces says the 15 British sailors have confessed that they crossed into Iranian waters.

The British Government says the sailors were in Iraqi waters, a claim supported by Commander Kevin Andal, US Navy fifth fleet spokesman, which helps maintain security in Iraqi waters.

“We’ve been operating in those waters for some years now and all our ship commanders who are participating in the coalition are under clear understanding,” he said.

“Our charts are very accurate and up-to-date, as well as our GPS information.

“We know where the lines are and we respect those lines and we don’t cross them.”

The 15 sailors have been taken to Tehran.

Concurrently new UN sanctions have been whacked on Iran for its non-compliance with suspension of U enrichment.

The council’s 15 members adopted Resolution 1747, co-sponsored by Britain, France and Germany, that broadens UN sanctions already imposed on Iran in December for spurning repeated demands to suspend the nuclear fuel work.

The resolution bans all Iranian arms exports, freezes the overseas assets of 28 additional officials and institutions linked to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and restricts financial aid or loans to Tehran.

It gives Iran 60 days to comply with the repeated UN demands or face “further appropriate measures” – economic sanctions but no military action – under Article 41 of the UN Charter.

There’s little probability that Iran will comply.

6 Replies to “All at sea in dire straits”

  1. The Brits attempt to fire a volley of coordinates:

    The U.K. Ministry of Defence, stepping up pressure on Iran to return 15 detained sailors and Marines, released evidence suggesting British boats were 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraq when they were seized.

    Vice Admiral Charles Style said Iran’s navy raided Britain’s boats on the Iraqi side of the Shatt al-Arab waterway dividing the two countries on March 23. He said GPS navigation data showed the position of Britain’s boats, adding that Iranian officials have given two separate accounts of the location of the vessels.

    “It is hard to understand a legitimate reason for the change of coordinates,” Style said at a briefing in London today. The boats, he said, were about their “legal business in Iraqi waters under a United Nations” resolution.

    Iran rejected the British assertions, saying the boats were half a kilometer (0.3 of a mile) inside Iranian waters. A statement from the Iranian embassy in London said the sailors and Marines were in good condition and that an investigation into the matter was underway.

  2. The Guardian has a differing account of details of the ship boarded:

    The officials will release details today of the co-ordinates of an Iranian dhow being used by smugglers and boarded by British marines after it broke down. “There was a boat we inspected,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.

    The marines, operating off HMS Cornwall, were then surrounded and captured by the Iranian navy.

    Government officials said photographs would show the dhow was well inside Iraqi waters in the complex Shatt al-Arab waterway. It is understood the British navy returned to photograph the dhow, and have details from a Lynx helicopter.

    The Iranians may counter that the borders inside the waters are poorly marked, 20 years out of date and disputed.

  3. Where the bloody hell were they and why aren’t the yanks releasing the GPS coordinates of the ship boarded by the United Kooks sailors?

    US officials said on Tuesday the sailors were seized by Iranian naval forces after boarding an Indian-flagged commercial ship suspected of carrying smuggled cars.

    It is the first detailed account of the operation being conducted by the British sailors and marines at the time of their capture.

    “It was an Indian-flagged vessel. It was suspected of being involved in automobile smuggling [into Iraq],” said commander Kevin Aandahl, a spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet.

    Aandahl said US officials knew the GPS co-ordinates of the Indian ship at the time the incident occurred, but would not release them publicly.

  4. It remains to be seen in whose waters the Brits actually were, although there is a report in the Times with some evidence they were transgressing Iranian waters.

    A senior Iraqi officer appeared to back Tehran’s claim that the British had entered Iranian waters. “We were informed by Iraqi fishermen after they had returned from sea that there were British gunboats in an area that is out of Iraqi control,” said Brigadier-General Hakim Jassim, who is in charge of Iraq’s territorial waters. “We don’t know why they were there.”

    It looks like my suspicions were correct – that the Iranians are looking to trade the 15 Brits for 5 consulate officials kidnapped by the US in Iraq.

    Perry, I agree with you that Iran’s enrichment program does not contravene the NPT to which they are signatory. The UN Security Council is exhibiting double standards sanctioning Iran. I suspect it’s too do with the need to create more possibilities for aggression against Iran at will by the Coalition of the Gobbling, should they so desire at some point, a lá the Iraq WMD concoction.

  5. They’re exercising their sovereign right to protect their borders as we do re the illegal immigrants. Iran still has the legal right to develop nuclear technology despite the US/UN sanctions.

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