Wednesday, March 28, 2007

International He said She said

NYT - Britain Steps Up Pressure on Iran, Freezing Business Ties
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.

“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.
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.


Steven said...

According to NPR this morning the Iranian firs told the Brits a set of coordinates that were, in fact, Iraqi waters. When that was pointed out to them, they then changed the numbers to coords in Iranian waters.

Jan said...

I think that is what the last couple of paragraphs I quoted are trying to say, although it is not crystal clear by the way it is stated. But yes, I was aware of that.