Footage of the British naval personnel seized by Iranian has been aired on Iranian television as Iran indicates it may lay charges against the servicemen and women.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said: “The Iranian authorities intercepted these sailors and marines in Iranian waters, and detained them in Iranian waters. This has happened in the past,” Mottaki said at the United Nations in New York.
“The charge against them is illegal entrance into Iranian waters . . In terms of legal issues, it’s under investigation.”
ITV footage showed Faye Turney, the only woman among the sailors and Marines, wearing a black headscarf and smoking a cigarette while a letter purportedly written by her to her family said the group had “trespassed” into Iranian waters.
The other 14 members of the group were shown by Al-Alam television in their uniforms apparently well and eating a meal off plastic plates.
The letter read: “We were out in the boat when we were arrested by Iranian forces as we had apparently gone into Iranian waters. I wish we hadn’t because then I would be home with you right now.
“I am so sorry we did because I know we wouldn’t be here now if we hadn’t. I have written a letter to the Iranian people to apologise for us entering their waters.” It added that the Iranians had been “very, very compassionate” and that she is being well-treated.
The Foreign Office denounced the broadcast of the pictures as “completely unacceptable”, saying: “There is no doubt that our personnel were seized in Iraqi waters and were entitled to be there.”
Earlier, Iran set it was set to release Leading Seaman Turney. Speaking during an Arab summit he was attending in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki suggested she might be freed.