NewsSpecial WireIran sets date for British gunboats display

Iran sets date for British gunboats display

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Iran Focus: Tehran, May 03 – The British Royal Navy gunboats which were seized last June by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards
are to be put on display in the Iranian capital from May 20, authorities in the port city of Khorramshahr announced today. One informed source said that the three boats would go on display in the Imam Khomeini Prayer Hall in Tehran on May 20, marking the anniversary of the 1982 liberation of Khorramshahr
from Iraqi forces. Iran Focus

Tehran, May 03 – The British Royal Navy gunboats which were seized last June by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. are to be put on display in the Iranian capital from May 20, authorities in the port city of Khorramshahr announced today.

One informed source said that the three boats would go on display in the Imam Khomeini Prayer Hall in Tehran on May 20, marking the anniversary of the 1982 liberation of Khorramshahr from Iraqi forces.

He also said that helicopters belonging to the United States military, used in a failed operation in 1980 to rescue the 52 American hostages in the U.S. embassy in Tehran, would also be put on display at the sprawling prayer hall.

Britain has demanded Tehran hand over the boats which were captured last June along with eight British servicemen in the narrow Shatt al-Arab waterway which divides south-western Iran from Iraq. The men were blindfolded and paraded on state television.

The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance (NCRI) said at the time that it had information showing that the seizure of British sailors was the result of a plan engineered at the highest levels in Tehran to give the British “a bloody nose” one week ahead of the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq.

But the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw dismissed such accusations and praised the Iranian Foreign Ministry for its cooperation.

Days later, British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told the House of Commons that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards forced the boats to enter Iranian waters in what as a planned operation.

In March Iran’s state-run radio announced that the British Navy boats would go on show in Arvand-Kenar, in Khuzestan province, adding to the diplomatic spat.

London has lodged a formal protest with Tehran about plans to display the boats as part of a military exhibition, though a senior Iranian army commander, Mirfaisal Baqerzadeh, said in March, “Iran will not give back the three British naval boats seized in the Shatt al-Arab and is putting them on display”.

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

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