UN Security Council calls for release of British soldiers in Iran
Friday, March 30, 2007
The United Nations Security Council has issued a statement calling for a "early resolution" to the rising tensions between United Kingdom and Iran by releasing all 15 British sailors and marines who were detained by Iranian forces on March 23.
"Members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the capture by the Revolutionary Guard and the continuing detention by the government of Iran of 15 United Kingdom naval personnel and appealed to the government of Iran to allow consular access in terms of the relevant international laws," said the U.N. Security Council in a statement.
"Members of the Security Council support calls, including by the secretary general in his March 29 meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, for an early resolution of this problem including the release of the 15 UK personnel," added the statement.
All 15 members of the Council agreed to the wording of the statement and released it after nearly four hours of debate, but Russia and South Africa opposed to having the statement or the Council's recommendations be "too harsh" or to put the blame fully on the Iranian government.
Iran released a statement shortly after the Security Council met saying that getting the U.N. involved, "will not be helpful."
"This case can and should be settled through bilateral channels. The British government's attempt to engage third parties, including the Security Council, with this case is not helpful," said a statement released by Iran's U.N Mission.
The sailors and marines from the frigatehad been inspecting, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1723, a ship that was believed to be smuggling cars into Iraq, though it was subsequently cleared after inspection when Iranian gunboats surrounded the sailors and arrested them at gunpoint.
On Thursday, Iran stated that they are "suspending" the release of the 15 soldiers, includinga female soldier, 26, who was supposed to be released "very soon."
- "Iran 'suspends' releasing British soldiers; Shots fired near Iranian Consul in Basra, Iraq" — Wikinews, March 29, 2007
- "Iran Foreign Minister: Britain must admit to trespassing before soldiers are released" — Wikinews, March 29, 2007
- "UK freezes business arrangements with Iran; detained sailors and marines shown on TV" — Wikinews, March 28, 2007
- "UK prepared to go 'into different phase' if sailors and marines not released by Iran within days" — Wikinews, March 27, 2007
- "British sailors detained by Iran "to be tried for espionage"" — Wikinews, March 25, 2007
- "15 Royal Navy sailors captured at gunpoint by Iranian guards" — Wikinews, March 23, 2007