Iran General NewsIran says will never return UK naval boats

Iran says will never return UK naval boats

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Reuters: Iran will never return three British naval boats it seized last year on its border with Iraq, a senior military official has been quoted as saying. Britain has demanded Tehran hand over the boats which were captured last June along with eight British serviceman in the narrow Shatt al-Arab waterway which divides southwestern Iran from Iraq. The men were freed after three days. Reuters

TEHRAN – Iran will never return three British naval boats it seized last year on its border with Iraq, a senior military official has been quoted as saying.

Britain has demanded Tehran hand over the boats which were captured last June along with eight British serviceman in the narrow Shatt al-Arab waterway which divides southwestern Iran from Iraq. The men were freed after three days.

Earlier this month London lodged a formal protest with Tehran about plans to display the boats as part of a military exhibition in southern Iran.

Iran has shown little sign of backing down.

“Iran will not give back the three British naval boats seized in the Shatt al-Arab and is putting them on display,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Mirfaisal Baqerzadeh, described as a senior Chief Staff of Armed Forces official, as saying.

“For the same reasons we did not give back the American helicopters, we won’t give back the aggressive British naval boats,” Baqerzadeh said.

He was referring to U.S. military helicopters which crashed and were abandoned during a failed 1980 attempt to rescue 52 hostages held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The hostages were eventually released after being held for 444 days.

Iran says the British boats were seized after they strayed into Iranian waters. Britain says the boats were forced over the maritime border with Iraq by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

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