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Britain Calls for Peaceful, Quick Resolution to Crisis with Iran

  • VOA News

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized Britain's position in a standoff over Tehran's seizure of 15 British naval personnel.

Mr. Ahmadinejad Saturday repeated his government's claim that the Britons illegally entered Iranian waters. He scolded Britain for refusing to apologize or express regret for the situation.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett today said her government wants the crisis with Iran resolved peacefully and as soon as possible. She said London wants to be told where the sailors and marines are being held, and it wants access to them.

Britain says the naval personnel were in Iraqi waters when they were overwhelmed by a larger force from Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Tehran says they illegally entered Iranian waters when they were picked up in the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway between Iran and Iraq.

In London, British officials say they have responded to a letter received from Iran Thursday concerning the incident. They did not reveal the contents of the letter.

Iran's ambassador to Moscow has denied he said the British personnel could be placed on trial for entering Iranian waters. Gholam-Reza Ansari told Iran's official news agency (IRNA) that Tehran had begun a legal investigation into the incident, but that his comments on Russian television Friday were poorly translated.

The United Nations Security Council has expressed "grave concern" about the detention, and has called for an early resolution to the standoff.

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