Iran yesterday again warned Britain against politicising the seizure of its 15 navy personnel.
The warning from Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki came as a senior Iranian diplomat said legal proceedings had begun against the sailors and Marines for illegally entering Iranian waters but denied reports of a trial.
“British leaders should avoid media storms and politicisation to prevent a further complication of the affair,” Iranian media quoted Mottaki as saying.
Iran’s ambassador to Moscow, Gholamreza Ansari, told a Russian television channel in comments aired late on Friday, that a legal process is under way. “The legal process has to be completed and if they are found guilty they will face punishment,” the envoy added.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the British government was not following “the legal and logical way” over the case. “After the arrest of these people, the British government, instead of apologising and expressing regret started to claim that we are in their debt,” he said.
The British government has received strong backing from both the United States and the European Union, with Tehran yesterday slamming the EU’s “irrational” support.
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said her ministry had responded to a diplomatic note from Tehran. But she also accused Iran of “sabre-rattling” over the possible trial.