Escalating its dispute with Iran, Britain today froze all “bilateral business” with Tehran to retaliate for the seizure of 15 British naval personnel six days ago in what the Royal Navy insists were Iraqi territorial waters.Iran says they were in Iranian waters; the British say they were in Iraqi waters. I'm not sure how it will ever be proven one way or the other. It's not like this is an episode of CSI or Numb3rs, and it's not like the Iraqi are just gonna say, "Oops, we were wrong" even if the British can produce strong evidence for their side of the argument. And now this game of he said, she said appears to be heating up. I hope that a diplomatic solution can be found (and feel certain it will) because we really don't want a regional war on our hands.
“It is now time to ratchet up international and diplomatic pressure” on Iran to demonstrate its “total isolation,” Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament after the Royal Navy made public details of what it said was the sailors’ position when they were apprehended.
[. . .]
He said the boarding took place at these coordinates: 29 degrees 50.36 minutes north, 048 degrees 43.08 minutes East. That placed it 1.7 nautical miles — around two miles on land — inside Iraqi waters.
In diplomatic contacts, Iran had provided Britain with an initial set of coordinates for the position of the boats that placed the incident in Iraqi waters.
“We pointed this out to them on Sunday in diplomatic contacts,” Vice Admiral Style said. “After we did this they then provided a second set of coordinates that places the incident in Iranian waters” over two nautical miles away from where they were said to be by Britain, he said.
“It is hard to understand a legitimate reason for this change of coordinates,” he said.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
International He said She said
NYT - Britain Steps Up Pressure on Iran, Freezing Business Ties