News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqBritain: Iraq naval missions will resume

Britain: Iraq naval missions will resume

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AP: British sailors will eventually resume boarding cargo vessels in the Persian Gulf to check for smuggled goods despite the recent standoff with Iran that saw a Royal Navy team held captive for 13 days, a senior government official said Monday. Associated Press

LONDON (AP) – British sailors will eventually resume boarding cargo vessels in the Persian Gulf to check for smuggled goods despite the recent standoff with Iran that saw a Royal Navy team held captive for 13 days, a senior government official said Monday.

Lord Triesman, a Foreign Office minister, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that the British naval operation is important.

“I think those waters have got to be kept secure. I don’t take it that boarding operations will have to cease in the middle or long term at all,” Triesman said, without being specific about when they will resume.

“The oil platforms have got to be secured,” he added. “We have got to make sure that dangerous material is not smuggled into southern Iraq. I don’t think the Iranians should be under any doubt that we could not allow that to happen.”

The search operations were suspended after 15 British sailors and marines were seized March 23 by Iranian Revolutionary Guards while inspecting a merchant ship in the northern Gulf.

The navy is currently reviewing that mission, but Britain insists the search team was in Iraq’s territorial waters under a U.N. mandate to prevent goods being smuggled in or out of Iraq. Iran claims the Britons were caught in Iranian waters.

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