detained sailors in iran

  sunny staines 11:31 25 Mar 2007

I am surprised the british warship the marines were from did not see the iranian boats approach and fire warning shots to scare them off before they got to the sailors or sink them if they failed to turn back.

Not knowing the full story only whats in the news it looks like they were not protected by their warship.

  realist 11:37 25 Mar 2007

Hmmm...we didn't sink them...and thus was avoided the outbreak of WW111!!!

  Forum Editor 11:49 25 Mar 2007

You don't go sinking other nations' vessels inside someone else's territorial waters until/unless you have consulted the government of the nation in whose waters you are.

You can do it if you're fired upon, and fear for the safety of your vessel and/or crew, but that wasn't the case in this instance.

The right way to resolve these matters is via diplomacy, and that's what is happening behind the scenes. Military force is something you resort to when all else has failed - not something you use at the start.

  Spark6 11:52 25 Mar 2007

WW111 or WW3? I don't know, but, most certainly, to send armed marines and sailors into a disputed area, knowing they will not be able, or encouraged, to defend themselves, seems to me to be the height of negligence or stupidity. Just as well the Health and Safety executive have no powers in this area!

  realist 12:07 25 Mar 2007

I'm a realist not a pedant!

  sunny staines 12:44 25 Mar 2007

the british navy is being bullied by iran. we need to show we are not a soft touch otherwise it will continue on a regular basis.

  Forum Editor 12:48 25 Mar 2007

I'm sure that the people who were captured would have been armed, but as far as I know they weren't fired upon, so there was no reason for them to defend themselves. They were detained at sea by armed Iranian coastal-patrol vessels as far as I'm aware, and you don't start indiscriminately firing when that happens. It's the way to escalate something that might not need escalating.

The Iranians took the action because they say that our people were inside their territorial waters. The boundary between Iraqui and Iranian waters is a deep channel at this point outside of the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway that divides Iraq from Iran, and has been the subject of dispute between the two countries since Iraq was given control of the waters by treaty in 1975.

As I understand it, our people were routinely inspecting inbound vessels at the time, and were intercepted by Iranian naval vessels. This happens quite often in fact, and our marines are used to it. What doesn't happen is the detention of our military personnel however, and this escalation is worrying - the more so because Iran has a new president, known to be a hardliner when it comes to suspecting acts of 'aggression'. Iraq says it has evidence that our people knew very well they were in Iranian waters, but we're denying that - well we would, wouldn't we?

  georgemac © 12:55 25 Mar 2007

Everything was being monitored by a US warship, and they have confirmed that the british sailors and marines were outside Iranian territorial waters.

My view is that diplomacy will also be the way to get the safe return of these men, but we need to offer them more protection in the future, the mother ship should be positioned right on the border of Iranian waters between the fast boarding craft and potential harm, and perhaps one warship is not enough.

Th fast rescue craft could also be fitted with GPS monitoring positioning devices, so we would have absolute proof of where these craft are at all times.

  Forum Editor 13:09 25 Mar 2007

I have no way of knowing whether what the US warship commander says is true or otherwise. Let's just say that he is hardly going to side with the Iranians in this, is he?

The whole problem here is not one of protecting our men and women (there's a woman amongst the detained people) - we can do that perfectly well - but of knowing when and waht to protect them from. As I've already said, interceptions by Iranian vessels are not uncommon, and I dare say our people thought this was yet another routine event. Iran says it believes that there was a violation of its territorial waters by armed foreign military personnel. If that happened in say, the entrance to the Bristol channel we would do exactly what they have done, we would arrest and detain the people concerned.

We may have been in the right, and we may have been in the wrong - I doubt that anyone can prove the truth one way or another, and that's not what's important right now. The really important thing is to secure the release of those in detention, and to do it fast. After that, we can start worrying about how we're going to proceed in future. If one detention has taken place there may be others. If our military personnel are in the same place, doing the same thing there's a risk it will happen again - and they must carry on inspecting inbound vessels....for obvious reasons.

  Jak_1 13:11 25 Mar 2007

HMS Cornwall would have been monitoring the position of our boats very carefuly and be in radio contact. Sometimes our craft do stray over boundries but seems not the case this time.Probably an over zealous miscalculation on behalf of the Iranians. Our boats show up clearly on our own radar therefor no need to fit them with a gps system.
It's not the first time this has happened nor I doubt will it be the last.
I know from my own time in the Andrew that we regularly went as close as possible to boundries. It's a part and parcel of life in the forces that something like this may happen in area of high tension.

  tony58 15:27 25 Mar 2007

"fire warning shots"mmmmmmm

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