Timeline: Iran-Britain standoff

Timeline of crisis between Iran and Britain over the capture of 15 sailors.

    The 15 sailors taken by Iran were
    from the HMS Cornwall [AFP] 

    April 2

    • Iran says there have been "positive changes" in British policy on the standoff.
    • State radio says Tehran has taped "confessions" from all 15 captured sailors that they entered Iranian waters but will not air any more of them.
    • Previously unseen footage of some of the crew members are later aired but without audio.
    • London says two countries have agreed to discuss prevention of future similar disputes.
    • Ali Larijani, Iran's chief negotiator, says Iran wants a diplomatic solution and that there is no need to put the 15 on trial.

    April 1

    • The UK calls "unacceptable" Iranian footage of two of the crew members separately "confessing" to being in Iranian waters when they were captured.
    • Iranian protesters throw petrol bombs, firecrackers and stones at the British embassy in Tehran.
    • Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, says Tehran is waiting for a "change in attitude" from Britain.

    March 31

    • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, criticises Britain's response to the crisis and calls Britain "arrogant" for not apologising.
    • George Bush, the US president, criticises Iran's seizure of the 15, calling them "hostages", and backs the British government stance that there will be no "quid pro quos".
    • Gholamreza Ansari, Iran's ambassador to Moscow, says legal process started against the 15 but later denies reports quoting him as saying they would face trial.

    March 30

    • Iran airs interview with Nathan Summers, a captured crew member, who apologises for "trespassing" in Iranian waters.
    • Releases a letter allegedly from Faye Turney in which she says she has been "sacrificed" to the policies of the British and American governments.
    • Iran sends British embassy in Tehran formal note condemning the "illegal act" and demanding guarantees against "the recurrence of such acts".

    March 29
    • Britain fails to win support from the UN Security Council for a strong statement to "deplore" Iran's actions.

    • Council agrees on watered-down statement expressing "grave concern" and calling for an early resolution of the problem, including the Britons' release.

    • A senior Iranian official says the sailors may be put on trial.

    • Tony Blair, the British prime minister, rejects any "quid pro quo or tit-for-tat" negotiation over hostages.

    • Tehran presents video purportedly showing capture of naval personnel in Iranian waters.

    • Iranian state television reports Turkey urging Iran to allow Turkish diplomatic access to the seized troops and to free the lone female sailor.

    March 28
    • Tehran says it will allow visits to seized sailors but says UK must "admit mistake" to end the crisis.
    • Britain suspends official contact with Iran and Tony Blair, the prime minister, pledges to "ratchet up" pressure on Iran.
    • Tehran first says it will release Faye Turney, the only woman sailor held, on Wednesday or Thursday, then changes it to "as soon as possible".
    • Britain releases GPS (global positioning system) evidence to prove the group was 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi waters when seized.
    • Iranian television footage of the sailors and marines shows Turney saying "Obviously we trespassed in the [Iranian] waters".
    • Iranian authorities release a letter they say was written by Turney, 26, to her family in which she purportedly said she had apologised to the Iranians for trespassing.
    • Britain condemns Iran for publishing the letter and for airing the footage, raising concerns about possible coercion.
    • Britain produces a draft seeking UN Security Council endorsement to "deplore" Iran's actions.

    March 27
    • Britain warns Iran of tensions escalating to a "different phase" if the standoff remains unresolved through diplomatic channels.
    March 26
    • Iran denies the 15 were taken in exchange for Iranians held by the US in Iraq, saying they will have to answer allegations of illegal entry.
    March 25
    • Tony Blair says the seizure is "serious" and wants the "unjustified and wrong" detention to end quickly.
    • Britain's ambassador to Iran demands to meet the 15, and calls for their immediate release.
    March 24
    • The 15 sailors and marines, including one woman, are transferred to Tehran for questioning, an Iranian news agency reports.
    • Iranian authorities say navigational equipment from the seized frigate will prove the illegal entry.
    • Iran's military spokesman says the British service personnel admit to violating its territorial waters and rejects London's demands for their swift release.
    March 23
    • Britain's defence ministry announces the capture of 15 sailors and marines from HMS Cornwall at gunpoint by the Iranian navy.
    • Iran says border guards arrested them after finding them entering illegally into its waters, but the UK says the group was well within Iraqi territory.
    • Iran's ambassador in London and British diplomats in Tehran are summoned for talks.
    • Margaret Beckett, Britain's foreign secretary, demands a "complete explanation" from Tehran.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

    Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

    Improving eco-efficiency within a capitalist growth-oriented system will not save the environment.