As Iran releases British sailors, UK says diplomacy with Tehran works
Iran has released the five British sailors it detained last week after their racing yacht strayed into Iranian waters.
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Iranian authorities released on Wednesday the five British sailors who were detained last week when their racing yacht strayed into Iranian waters. The British Foreign Office confirmed that the sailors were being towed by the Iranian Navy into international waters before making their way to Dubai. The release is being hailed by British officials as a sign that diplomacy with Tehran can work.
The British Foreign Office confirmed the release of the five, who were detained by the Iranian navy on November 25 after going off course while traveling from Bahrain to Dubai. Iranian media also reported their release….
Iranian authorities said the men were released after it was determined their vessel -- the Kingdom of Bahrain -- had accidentally wandered into the country's waters, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Mr Miliband added: "As I said yesterday, this is a purely consular case. Obviously, there has been a real ordeal for the young men and for their families and I am really delighted that it is over for them and that we can call the matter closed."
He said the Iranian authorities had given "every indication" that they wanted to deal with the matter in a "straightforward, consular" way.
He added: "I think that this is just a straightforward matter. It is not a political matter. I do not believe there is any wider significance .. it shows that diplomacy can work."
According to the Guardian, the question of the sailors' release was tenuous, because Iran's maritime boundaries in the Persian Gulf are "not straightforward." Precise limits of Iran's jurisdiction have not been defined to the west of the United Arab Emirates. There could have been a dispute about the sailors' intent if they had strayed close to the island of Sirri, home to oil installations.