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British sailors arrested at gunpoint by Iranian navy.

Juvat

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Here is the article in question where Blair mentions the other phase.....reproduced under the normal caveats.

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=42cd32b4-ce57-4398-822f-2434fa09b236

Blair warns Iran of 'different phase' in hostage crisis
Paul Hughes, Reuters
Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2007
LONDON — Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Tehran today of a "different phase" if it did not free 15 British military personnel captured in the Gulf four days ago.

The sailors' capture and new U.N. sanctions imposed on Tehran on Saturday over its disputed nuclear program have stoked tensions between the West and Iran and pushed oil prices to a 2007 high.

Today, Russia and the United Arab Emirates urged Iran to comply with U.N. demands that it halt sensitive nuclear work but Tehran says the U.N. resolution is illegal.


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Font: ****Iran, which denies any intention of making atomic weapons, has said it may charge the two boatloads of British sailors and marines with illegally entering its waters in the northern Gulf. Britain insists they were operating in Iraqi waters.

"What we are trying to do ... is to pursue this through the diplomatic channels and make the Iranian government understand these people have to be released and that there is absolutely no justification whatever for holding them," Blair said.

"They have to release them. If not, then this will move into a different phase," he told Britain's GMTV television.

Blair's spokesman said the next step London could take would be to publish proof, in the form of global satellite positioning (GPS) records, that the sailors had not entered Iranian waters.

"We so far haven't made explicit why we know that because we don't want to escalate this," he said.

A government source in London told Reuters British officials were showing Iran data on the sailors' exact position when seized.

Britain has been assured that the sailors are well but has not been given access to them or told where they are being held.

LEAVE DOOR OPEN

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, visiting Iran's neighbor Turkey where her counterpart Abdullah Gul voiced support for the sailors' release, said Britain would "continue to leave the door open for a constructive outcome."

Iraq's government and an Iraqi fisherman who witnessed the capture say it took place in Iraqi waters.

Iran captured eight British servicemen in similar circumstances in 2004 and released them after three nights.

Analysts have said the current crisis appeared more complex and would take longer to resolve than three years ago.

"The incident in 2004 was less tense, there were fewer gathering clouds, so they may well be held for longer," said Alex Bigham, of the Foreign Policy Center. "There are probably also internal political battles in Iran over what to do next."

Some hardline groups in Iran suggest the case could be a bargaining chip in its nuclear and other rows with the West, exposing what analysts said were divisions with more moderate voices who want to build bridges abroad, not exacerbate tension.

In Iran, a crowd of hardline students chanting "Death to Britain" gathered today on the shoreline close to where the Britons were captured and demanded firm action against the sailors, Iran's semi official Mehr news agency reported.

But the official IRNA news agency suggested in a commentary the issue could still be resolved if London apologized.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged Iran to return to negotiations over its nuclear program.

"The door is open ... I hope that a positive reaction (from Iran) will follow," he said.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan said his country would not be involved in any military strike on Iran, but urged the Islamic Republic to avoid stoking tensions.

(Additional reporting by David Clarke, Katherine Baldwin and Sophie Walker in London, Fredrik Dahl in Tehran, Zerin Elci in Ankara, Diala Saadeh in Dubai, Dmitry Solovyov in Moscow)

Reuters

 

observor 69

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And another take on the incident:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6499781.stm

Options limited in Iran standoff
By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent BBC News website 



The British government is still hoping that quiet diplomacy will get the release of the 15 sailors and marines captured by the Iranians, but its options are somewhat limited if Iran does not respond .

It could create a lot of sound and fury but Iran is good at playing that game and the risk is that the Iranian government would simply exploit the incident for even longer.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a master of rhetoric and riposte. He has shown a ready defiance of the UN Security Council over Iran's enrichment of uranium. He thrives on a confrontation.

According to Mark Bowden, in his book "Guests of the Ayatollah" about the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, Mr Ahmadinejad was "one of the central players in the group that seized the embassy and held hostages."

The American hostages were held for 444 days, initially as a bargaining tool for the exiled Shah, and released only on the day that President Jimmy Carter left office. Mr Carter was humiliated by the episode.

More at link


 

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HALE
     All I was surgesting is that the ROEs may have had something to do with both the armament
and the reaction of the boarding party also possibly with the reaction of the mother ship.The info.
released by the MOD concerning the actual capture has been vague to say the least,and that little
drawing tells one absolutely nothing. My comment should in no way be seen as a criticism of the
troops involved rather my suspicion of T.Blair and his cretinous Labour government.
                         Regards
 

NL_engineer

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Link: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L27357587.htm

BERLIN, March 27 (Reuters) - European Union president Germany summoned Iran's ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on Tuesday to protest against the detention of 15 British soldiers and demand their immediate release.

A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry said a deputy foreign minister delivered his protest to the Iranian ambassador. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is currently on a trip to central Asia.

"Iran is responsible for the well-being of the Europeans and to ensure consular access to them," the spokeswoman said.

She said the soldiers should be released immediately.

The 15 British Navy personnel were captured at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which marks the southern stretch of Iraq's border with Iran, in the Gulf on Friday.

Iran says the soldiers were seized in Iranian waters. Britain and Iraq dispute this and say the Navy personnel were in Iraq's territorial waters.


Looks like Germans are protesting Iran.
 

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HALE
      In addition,I dont know how smart it is to put 14 of your troops in the hands of the Mad Mullahs
when you dont have the political will or the military muscle to do anything about it.
                                            Regards
 

IN HOC SIGNO

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geo said:
Short of having a remake of "custer's last stand", the 15 soldiers & sailors certainly had limited options.  Without the Cornwall there to provide immediate direct support, without a gunship in the air acting like a sheepdog, the IC party certainly had limited options - none of them good.

Let's see some politicians start pulling their weight & get their a$$ in gear.

This is what I can't understand....how far away was the Cornwall? When we do boarding parties from Canadian ships we never go very far away. The diagram we saw really didn't shed much light on how far away the Cornwall was. I know probably no one on this site knows or can say how far away it was but it's just strange that they would be so far away that they couldn't provide cover fire for them to get away. ???
 

Teddy Ruxpin

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Frankly, those that are arguing that the RN should have shot up the Iranian patrol boats and "rescued" their personnel are ignoring political realities and are second-guessing tactical decisions made on the water at the time - something I'm loathe to do.  If you weren't there, you don't know - full stop - moreover, we'll likely never know what ROE were being applied.

I agree with Hale.  This is an extremely politically sensitive issue, given the UK's poisonous relations with Iran, Iraqi politics, and other issues - including nuclear weapons - at stake.  Knowing this, no commanding officer - perhaps aside from the asinine American LCdr quoted in some press reports - is going to act in a rash, ham-fisted manner when there's a distinct possibility that his decisions will result in a general conflict.  There is every possibility that the Cornwall's CO was reacting to direction he was receiving from higher as the situation developed.

I have no doubt - none - that the UK is capable of a punitive military response if/when that is warranted.  However, is this really a situation that demands the Tomahawks fly, the SAS go door kicking, or that the RN starts lobbing 4.5-inch rounds at Iranian oil platforms?
 

CrazyCanuk4536056919

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Teddy,
However, is this really a situation that demands the Tomahawks fly, the S.A.S go door kicking, or that the RN starts lobbing 4.5-inch rounds at Iranian oil platforms?

After 4 nights....no. But what after 4 weeks or 4 months?

How many ways, or how many times should the UK say "Gives us back our troops?". If after 4 weeks of Iranian dilly dally and farting about, are the UK not left with the tomahawk, S.A.S, 4.5" shell option? And I would have to assume that a swap of some sort would be offered during this 4 weeks, along with the UK presenting to the world, and quite possibly in the UN, evidence of UK troops in Iraqi, or international waters and not in Iranian waters. I would even suspect another country becoming involved to broker an exchange of some sort during this time frame. But If Iran still goes ahead with it's kangaroo court, snubs it's nose at the world,  prosecutes them, and drags this out, what do we have left?
 

Trooper Hale

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Spot on teddy. Exactly what i would say if i was elequont and smart :p.
Time exprired, I'd much rather be the guest of a "Mad Mullah" then be riddled with 20mm cannon and die pointlessly. Theres bravery and theres stupidity. Sacrificing yourself for the greater good is a good thing, sacrificing yourself for the sake of it is just daft.
I6, i dont doubt the aussies you work with believe in shooting it out. If they'r the blokes i think they are then they'r the very best and would do damage to any bastard who tried it.
I think sitting out in the water, in an IRB, with nothing to stop rounds hitting you is slightly different to fighting on land though. These blokes made the best choice they could in this situation. Escalating the situation would definately not have helped any situation in the slightest.
 

The Bread Guy

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Couple of tidbits from Stratfor, shared in  accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.

27 Mar 07

"UNITED KINGDOM/IRAN:  British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent a
warning to Iran regarding the seizure four days earlier of 15 British
servicemen. Blair said the United Kingdom is pursuing diplomatic
channels to resolve the conflict, but warned that his government
would move to a "different phase" if Iran continues to hold its
military personnel hostage. He did not elaborate."

(....)

" Geopolitical Diary: Another Step in the U.S.-Iranian Covert War

The  diplomatic row  over the Iranian seizure of 15 British
servicemen and marines entered its fourth day Monday, with Iran
saying the Britons are "fit and well" and being held at a secret
location until the Iranians can determine through interrogation
whether their alleged entry into Iranian waters was intentional.

The U.S. and British governments say the British personnel were
intercepted by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) naval
forces March 23 after completing a search of a civilian vessel on
the Iraqi side of the 120-mile Shatt al-Arab waterway leading to
the Persian Gulf. The Iranian government, however, says the British
servicemen admitted to illegally entering Iranian territory, and
that it has the satellite tracking images to prove the "blatant
aggression into Iranian territorial waters."

Iran has a track record of stirring up diplomatic spats in the
oil-rich Persian Gulf in order to reassert its political and
military relevance, as it did in  June 2004  when it seized three
British patrol boats in the Shatt al-Arab. At that time, the
Iranian nuclear controversy was gaining steam as Washington
attempted to transfer the issue to the U.N. Security Council while
building a new government in Baghdad without consulting Iran.

This latest incident occurred a day ahead of the widely expected
unanimous U.N. Security Council vote to tighten sanctions against
Iran. Included in the resolution is a clause freezing the assets of
28 people and organizations ostensibly involved in Iran's nuclear
and missile programs. Many of them belong to the elite IRGC and
Quds Force (a paramilitary arm of the IRGC), which have been
heavily involved in fueling the Iraq insurgency. The IRGC is
evidently displeased with the financial hit, as well as the January
seizure of five Iranians -- including IRGC and Quds Force members
-- in a U.S. raid in Arbil. IRGC weekly newspaper Subhi Sadek
expressed this outrage, saying the IRGC has "the ability to capture
a bunch of blue-eyed, blond-haired officers and feed them to our
fighting cocks."

There are a number of reasons behind the IRGC's recent seizure of
the British servicemen, but there could be more to this diplomatic
row than is apparent.

While Iran and the United States have kept the media busy with
diplomatic maneuverings over Iraq  and threats linked to the
Iranian nuclear program, Iran has been entangled in an intense
covert intelligence war  with the West. As part of this fight, the
assassination  of an Iranian nuclear scientist by Israel's Mossad
was met a few weeks later -- as expected -- with a retaliatory
strike in Paris against David Dahan, head of the Israeli Defense
Ministry Mission to Europe. Though Dahan's death was treated as a
suicide, intelligence suggests Dahan was singled out by the Iranian
Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in a tit-for-tat
strike.

Several weeks ago, Ali Reza Asghari, a former Iranian deputy
defense minister and Pasdaran commander  defected  while traveling
in Turkey and was turned over to the U.S. government. Asghari is
undoubtedly a  valuable asset  for Western intelligence agencies,
who likely hope to use him to dissect the Iranian defense
establishment -- representing a significant threat to Iran's
national security. In the course of Asghari's debriefing, he
undoubtedly was grilled on his knowledge of any suspected U.S.
agents operating in Iran in order to determine if any agents have
been or are close to being exposed by Iranian security agencies.

With this in mind, there have been recent indications from U.S. and
Israeli intelligence sources that the British MI6 was engaged in an
operation to extract one of its agents from Iran, but a leak tipped
MOIS off to the plan. According to an unconfirmed source, the IRGC
nabbed the British personnel, as well as the agent, to use as a
bargaining chip in order to secure the release of the five detained
Iranians. If these negotiations go poorly for Iran, the Britons
could very well be tried for espionage.

The motive behind the seizure of the British servicemen is still
unclear, but the operation likely was planned well in advance by
key figures within the IRGC. At this point, the Iranians are
watching their backs closely, and are willing to take the political
risk of flaring up another diplomatic dispute in order to plug
further intelligence leaks.


Situation Reports

1150 GMT -- UNITED STATES -- The U.S. Navy on March 27 began a
major exercise in the Persian Gulf, bringing together two strike
groups of warships, more than 100 warplanes and 10,000 personnel.
The exercise will involve simulated attacks by ship and plane
against enemy ships, as well as searches for enemy submarines and
mines. It is the biggest show of force in the Persian Gulf since
the 2003 invasion of Iraq."
 

tomahawk6

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I hope for a speedy resolution to this crisis. I know its tough on the families of the RN and RM personnel but they should take some solace that they are not alone during this trying time.

MOD has asked that UK army rumor service [arrse] to not discuss this issue on their forums. So threads like this need to carry the water for our British friends.
 

IN HOC SIGNO

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tomahawk6 said:
I hope for a speedy resolution to this crisis. I know its tough on the families of the RN and RM personnel but they should take some solace that they are not alone during this trying time.

MOD has asked that UK army rumor service [arrse] to not discuss this issue on their forums. So threads like this need to carry the water for our British friends.

Most assuredly....we are in solidarity with our comrades...READY AYE READY!
 

Trooper Hale

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This is interesting, and here i was thinking that kidnapping foreign nationals was provocative ::)

Iran: Blair comments on hostages 'provocative'
Wednesday Mar 28 05:25 AEST http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=257186
Iran condemned as "provocative" Tuesday comments by Prime Minister Tony Blair warning of a "different phase" in British efforts to secure the release of 15 naval personnel detained by Iran.

"The media campaigns and provocative ... remarks regarding the violation of Iranian territorial waters by the British sailors are doing nothing to help settle the affair," said foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini.

"The British service personnel entered Iranian waters illegally and the case will follow its legal and judicial course."

In an interview with GMTV television earlier Tuesday, Blair said Britain was trying to "pursue this through the diplomatic channels and make the Iranian government understand these people have to be released".




"I hope we manage to get them to realise they have to release them. If not, then this will move into a different phase," he said.

Blair's official spokesman said London was not looking to escalate the stand-off and would prefer to resolve the spat quietly.

But London is clearly seeking to keep up the pressure on Tehran, which has rejected growing international calls to free the naval personnel.

Britain has Iraqi backing in its insistence that the 15 sailors and marines were on "routine" anti-smuggling operations in Iraqi waters when they were seized at gunpoint in the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

Iran says they entered its territorial waters illegally.

Hosseini said that British diplomats would be able to meet the 15, who include a woman, once investigators had completed questioning them about what they had been doing in Iranian waters.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, who cut short a visit to Ankara Tuesday to report to MPs on the row with Iran, had earlier renewed calls for immediate consular access to the captive personnel.

"If indeed they are being detained in reasonable circumstances, then we can see no reason why they should not have contact with people from the British government," she said.

 

CrazyCanuk4536056919

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6501555.stm

Well, I guess the proof is in the pudding. Nice Picture of a GPS handheld, over the merchant ship, 1.5 Miles inside Iraqi waters. Whoever took that was thinking.

And Turkish diplomats may be granted access to the sailors and marines. Let's hope.

 

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Given the information revealed in the posts above, plus the fact that there was a previous incident
of this type, seems to preclude the idea that this somehow came as a surprise to the British Gov.
IMHO it is an act of almost criminal negligence to send troops into the same situation without
more visible and effective support, for example attack helicopter,Iraqi gunboats or fastjet CAP.
This would have avoided this situation arising in the first place. Now we find ourselves in a no
win situation.The idea that the UK or the even the US will take military action to resolve this
situation is ludicrous and would be very counterproductive.Therefore we must wait until the Iranians
extract as much propergander value as possible from this situation at which time the troops will be
released,I hope.This will demonstrate to the world that one can tweak the lions nose with relative impunity,
hope the Argies are not watching Ha HA ,.
Terry R. I watched the King of spin,T.Blair  echo your comments this morning in the Commons debate
which makes me doubly suspicious, however my point is the action of politicians putting troops in
danger without proper equipment and robust ROEs is repugnant to me and must be to every soldier
serving or retired.  
                    Regards
PS Does anyone out there know why my computer submits my post in this strange and difficult
to read form,and what I can do to correct it?  
 

midget-boyd91

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time expired said:
IMHO it is an act of almost criminal negligence to send troops into the same situation without
more visible and effective support, for example attack helicopter,Iraqi gunboats or fastjet CAP.
There was a British HELO floating around the skies with the BP. It was the HELO who confirmed that the British Marines/Sailors had been "arrested" by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
 

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Midjet-Boyd91
                  Probably a Lynx HAS 3, definitely not an attack helicopter.
By the way Midjet-boyd91 could you please fill out your profile as I find easier to communicate
with people I know something about.Thank you.
                                      Regards















 

tomahawk6

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Visual evidence that the RN/RM personnel were inside Iraqi waters.Picture taken by the RN flight crew that viewed the hostage taking.

_42736921_gps_mod.jpg
 

Mike Baker

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Looks like the female sailor will be released soon.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070328/british_sailors_070328/20070328?hub=TopStories
 
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