Blair Warns Tehran
Iran's detention of 15 British Navy personnel is 'unjustified and wrong', Tony Blair said. Describing the incident as 'a very serious situation', the Prime Minister called for a swift end to the crisis. The 14 men and a women from HMS Cornwall were snatched on Friday after Tehran said they strayed into its waters. They were carrying out a search of an Iraqi cargo boat in the Gulf at the time. It is still not known where the sailors and Marines are being held. Mr Blair warned Tehran it was a 'fundamental' issue for Britain and insisted the group had not strayed into Iranian waters. Speaking in Berlin, he said: 'I have not been commenting up to now because I want to get it resolved in as easy and diplomatic a way as possible. But this is a very serious situation.'It is simply not true that they went into Iranian territorial waters. 'Iran should not be under any doubt at all about how seriously we regard this act, which is unjustified and wrong. 'We have certainly sent that message to them very clearly indeed.' Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the authorities were considering whether to charge the 15. Tehran has described the incident as a 'blatant aggression into Iranian territorial waters'. Foreign Office minister Lord Triesman said he had held 'frank' talks with the Iranian ambassador but admitted it was still unclear where the 15 were. He added: 'We have been insisting that they should be released immediately – there is no reason to hold them – that they should be released unharmed and that we should be in a position to assure their families they are in good health and that they are safe.'