UK seeks direct talks with Iran

British prime minister backs diplomacy to end row over detained sailors.

    Iran insists the British navy personnel had illegally entered Iranian waters [AFP] 

    Britain said it had contacts on Tuesday with Iran, including Ali Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

     

    "On the basis of these, the prime minister believes that both sides share a desire for an early resolution of this issue through direct talks," the statement issued by Blair's office said.

     

    Diplomatic channel

     

    Your Views

    "It is Iran's responsibility to find a quick solution"

    Emkay, Auckland, New Zealand

    Send us your views

    Earlier, Margaret Beckett, the British foreign secretary, told reporters: "We are not seeking confrontation. We are seeking to pursue this through diplomatic channels."

       

    Iran said on Tuesday that the dispute could be resolved soon if Britain continued its "changed behaviour" and accepted that its sailors and marines had entered Iranian waters illegally.

       

    The standoff began when Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized the sailors and marines on March 23 in the northern Gulf, where the British navy has been searching shipping in an effort to prevent smuggling into Iraq.

     

    British efforts to get the international community to condemn Iran has angered Tehran. Britain has also criticised the parading of its military personnel on Iranian television, saying broadcasts showing them admitting guilt had been forced on them.

       

    Larijani left the door open for discussion about whether the personnel had strayed into Iranian waters by saying a "delegation" should be sent to clarify the issue.

       

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's anti-Western president who beat Larijani in the 2005 presidential race, will talk about the captive personnel on Wednesday, according to Iranian television.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.