TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian state
television aired new video Sunday showing two of the 15 captured British sailors
pointing to a spot on a map of the Persian Gulf where they were seized and
acknowledging it was in Iranian territorial waters.
A video grab from footage shown on Iranian television on
April 1, 2007, shows a man in a khaki uniform standing in front of a map
of the Persian Gulf while speaking. Iranian television showed pictures of
two of the 15 British sailors and marines held in Iran, and said they
admitted that they were captured after entering Iranian waters.
Britain's Foreign Office immediately denounced the video, saying it was
"completely unacceptable for these pictures to be shown on TV."
Adding to tensions between the two countries, about 200 angry Iranian youths
chanting "Death to Britain" and "Death to America" threw rocks and firecrackers
at the British Embassy and tried to rush the compound but were held back by
The 15 Britons were detained by Iranian naval units on March 23 while
patrolling for smugglers as part of a UN-mandated force monitoring the Persian
Gulf. They were seized near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab, a waterway
that has long been a disputed dividing line between Iraq and Iran. Iran insists
the sailors illegally entered its waters, but Britain says the team was in Iraqi
waters at the time of their capture.
The captives first appeared on the state-run Arabic-language TV channel
Al-Alam in separate video clips looking relaxed in military fatigues and
pointing at the same map of the Persian Gulf.
The first sailor, who was identified as Royal Marine Capt. Chris Air, pointed
with a pen to a location on the map where he said two boats left a warship of
the US-led coalition in Iraq around 8:30 am on March 23. He said the seven
marines and eight navy sailors were captured around 10 am.
Pointing to the map, he said "we were seized apparently at this point here on
their maps and on the GPS they've shown us, which is inside Iranian territorial
"And so far we have been treated very well by all the people here. They have
looked after us and made sure there's been enough food and we've been treated
very well by them so we thank them for that."
The second sailor, identified as Lt. Felix Carman, pointed to an area on the
map and said that location was where he and the 14 others were arrested.
"I'd like to say to the Iranian people, I can understand why you are so angry
about our intrusion into your waters," he said.
The newscaster said the two had confessed to "illegally" trespassing in
Al-Alam broadcast longer videos of the Britons earlier this week, including
footage on Friday of captured marine Nathan Thomas Summers apologizing for
entering Iranian waters "without permission" and admitting to trespassing in
He was shown sitting with another serviceman and the female British sailor
Faye Turney against a floral curtain. Both servicemen wore camouflage fatigues
with a Royal Navy label on their chests and a little British flag stitched to
their left sleeves.
Al-Alam also aired video on Wednesday showing Turney wearing a headscarf and
saying: "Obviously we trespassed."
Iran has also made public three letters purportedly written by Turney. The
last letter contained an apology.
Britain has denounced the videos, calling them "propaganda" and "outrageous."
Iran's decision to air three videos on its Arabic-language TV channel, rather
than on its main Farsi channels has not been explained. But it appears to be an
attempt to seek support from Arabs in Iraq and the Gulf states, where many
resent Britain's military deployment in Iraq and its historical role as a
colonial power in the region.
Earlier on Sunday, British Defense Secretary Des Browne said his government
was in "direct, bilateral communication with the Iranians." A Ministry of
Defense spokeswoman said Browne was referring to letters and other contacts
between diplomats, rather than any new face-to-face talks.
Browne, on a visit to Afghanistan, said Britain had "the support of almost
the whole international community" in calling for the release of its personnel.
IS President Bush on Saturday demanded the release of the 15 "hostages." He
said they were innocent and called their capture "inexcusable behavior."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called world powers "arrogant" for
refusing to apologize.
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett appeared to soften rhetoric
against Iran Saturday - though she stopped far short of an apology.
"I think everyone regrets that this position has arisen," Beckett said during
a visit to Germany. "What we want is a way out of it."
In Iran, hardliners called for their government to remain firm.
The protesters at the British Embassy called for the expulsion of the
country's ambassador because of the standoff.
Several dozen policemen prevented the protesters from rushing the embassy
compound, although a few briefly scaled a fence outside the compound's walls
before being pushed back, according to an Associated Press reporter at the
The demonstrators hurled stones into the courtyard of the embassy. They also
demanded that the Iranian government expel the British ambassador and close down
the embassy, calling it a "den of spies."
Britain's Foreign Office said there had been no damage to the compound.
A British Foreign Office spokeswoman in London said diplomats continued to
work normally inside the embassy and had not been at risk.