Iran: Detained British troops do not need to go to trial

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Iran has said that the 15 British troops detained on March 23 do not have to go through any trial, according to Ali Larijani, the highest ranking diplomat for Iran who also said that a delegation should review the case against the sailors and marines.

"We are not interested in this issue getting more complicated. Our interest is in solving this problem as soon as possible. This issue can be resolved, and there is no need for any trial. There should be a delegation to review the case ... to clarify whether they have been in our territorial waters or not," said Larijani who hopes that the situation between Britain and Iran can be solved bilaterally.

Ali Larijani while lecturing at Sharif University of Technology for his presidential campaign.

Britain has stated that they are currently studying Larijani's comments and will respond to them tomorrow.

"There remain some differences between us, but we can confirm we share his preference for early bilateral discussions to find a diplomatic solution to this problem. We will be following this up with the Iranian authorities tomorrow, given our shared desire to make early progress," said a spokesperson for the British Foreign Office.

On March 23, the fifteen sailors and marines from the frigate HMS Cornwall were inspecting a ship, in what the UK identified as Iraqi waters, when they were surrounded by Iranian gunboats and taken into custody. Iran claims the UK forces were in Iranian waters, and are still detaining the fifteen.