Gulf & Middle East
Stay out of seamen seizure issue: Iran to US
Apr 2, 2007 - 12:40:52 PM

Tehran, April 2 - Iran has urged US President George W. Bush to stay out of the issue of the British crew detention, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Iran detained 15 British seamen in the Gulf March 23 for violating its maritime border with Iraq. Britain has insisted the servicemen were outside Iranian boundary under a UN mandate, and were returning in dinghies to the HMS Cornwall after patrolling oil platforms.

'Any statements by the American side designed to support the British government can only further complicate the situation -,' the ministry said. 'The US president had better refrain from ill-considered and unreasonable comments.'

The US president, on Sunday called their capture 'inexcusable behaviour,' and urged Tehran to release the British crew.

London froze official bilateral contacts, suspended the issuance of visas to Iranian officials and referred the case to the UN Security Council Wednesday.

The UN has expressed grave concern over the sailors' capture.

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