5 Britons Detained in Iran
By SOF Editor on Tue, 12/01/2009 - 11:38am
The British government says five Britons have been detained in Iran after their racing yacht may have inadvertently strayed into Iranian waters.
The Foreign Office in London says Iranian naval vessels stopped the yacht on November 25 in the Persian Gulf. In a Monday statement, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says the crew was en route from Bahrain to Dubai when the incident occurred.
The yacht, owned by the Sail Bahrain company, was due to join the 580-kilometer Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race. British news reports say the boat may have drifted into Iranian territory after developing a problem with its propeller.
Miliband says the British ambassador to Tehran has "raised the issue" with Iranian officials. Iran says it is investigating reports of the incident.
In March 2007, Iran detained 15 British military personnel in disputed waters and held them for about two weeks.
The incident sparked a diplomatic stand-off between the two countries.
Tehran maintained the Britons were in Iranian waters while British authorities insisted the crew was in Iraqi waters.
Iran is currently holding three U.S. citizens, who were detained on July 31 for entering Iran illegally, after they apparently strayed across the border while on a hike in northern Iraq.
Iran has charged the three Americans with espionage.