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IRAN TV Editorial on Seizure of UKSailors

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April 1, 2007

Iran TV Interviews 3 Experts on UK Sailor Abduction

Broadcast 31 March on Iranian state satellite TV (IRINN)

When the Islamic Republic wants to make a media statement, it often recruits antiestablishment Western intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Ramsay Clark or Zbigniew Brzezinski for appearances (usually in telephone interviews) on its television programs. Today in a program about its position on its abduction of 15 British sailors, IRINN interviewed former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray along with two other legal scholars in Brussels.

Murray has been critical of the UK's statements about this incident
in interviews with a number of leftist media such as Antiwar.com,
as he is in his own blog (www.craigmurray.com.uk). He was fired as
ambassador to Uzbekistan for disagreeing with his government's foreign
policy. Murray's comments in the interview were wise and
well-informed, but he can hardly be called an unbiased observer. He
was apparently interviewed in his office in England.


Female Newscaster: The Islamic Republic's Foreign Ministry has condemned the biased and interventionist statement by the European Union on the subject of the arrest of 15 English soldiers for illegally entering Iran's territorial waters. In this statement the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioned the existence of decisive documents and evidence of the violation of Iran's territial waters by English forces, and it advised European and EU officials to refrain from making any ill-considered or irresponsible statements regarding this.

However in an exclusive interview with the News Network the former chief of the Maritime Section of the British Foreign Office said Iran has the right to arrest foreign forces who enter its waters.

Craig Murray, who was for some time the British ambassador to Uzbekistan, added that the government of England could solve the problem with the acceptance of its presence in the Iran's water and an apology.

London Announcer Korani: One week after the arrest of the British sailors who had entered our nation's waters illegally, the British government, along with this nation's media, continues to create a political and propaganda uproar against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In an interview today with the News Network Craig Murray, former chief of the British Foreign Office Maritime Section and former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, criticized the British government's position in politicizing this case and emphasized that Iran has the right under international law to arrest forces who come into its territorial waters.

He considered it essential to study the technical and legal aspects of the incident and believes that the hue and cry over the arrest of the British sailors has become a pretext for politicians who started making propaganda attacks against Iran some time ago.

When asked how he evaluates the reaction to this incident by the British government and media he said: It seems to me that England made a mistake in issuing a map claiming that its sailors were in Iraqi waters, because the English themselves drew these maps and Iran has not accepted the maps that have to do with Iran and Iraq. Iraq has not accepted them yet either, nor has any international body accepted them.

In other words no maps exist for the boundaries in the disputed waters and it is possible that each side might insist on a boundary that is not accepted by the other side. This position by the English government will only make the issue more complicated.

The English government could say it was in Iraq's waters and if is proven that they were in Iran's waters, they will apologize. If England adopts this position the problem will be solved.

At the same time, Iran doesn't need to keep the 15 English soldiers in custody any longer. The two sides can thus engage in political negotiations about this and calm the situation.

Concerning the British government's goals in creating a political and propaganda uproar against Iran, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan believes the best thing is to forget all the other issues between Iran and England.

Everyone knows George Bush and Tony Blair have been trying for years to increase the pressure on Iran over various issues including the nuclear program. Iran's nuclear program is just one of these things. Therefore George Bush considers Iran to be a part of the axis of evil. Everyone knows Tony Blair supports America's policies, and this creates a problem for Iran.

We must now put these things aside because I say decisively that the people of England do not want to create problems for the people of Iran. For this reason all of those old issues must be set aside and we must focus our attention on this small maritime problem for study as an independent issue.

To begin the study the two sides must accept that there is no specific maritime border; the government of England and the naval forces of this nation had no intention of entering Iran's territorial waters and must promise not to repeat this. This is not that difficult to do.

Announcer: Craig Murray, who was once chief of the Maritime Section of the British Foreign Office and who has sufficient knowledge about the geographical differences of opinion over maritime borders, says concerning the way to resolve this case:

Craig Murray as translated by interpreter: The most important thing is to persevere and be cautious. If there are differences of opinion over maritime boundaries one must not pursue them because military measures there will not be useful.

When I was chief of the Maritime Section in the British Foreign Office we acted in this way, and therefore additional problems were not created there and I was not faced with problems of this nature.

This incident has not turned into a major problem so far. No one has been injured and thank God no one has been killed. Therefore everyone must help solve the problem logically.

Female Newscaster: Many Western experts and legal specialists believe that the English way of approaching this issue has been unprincipled and illegal.

Street Announcer: Some European experts and legal specialists have regarded England's way of dealing with the issue of its arrested sailors as completely unprincipled and illegal.

When asked for his judgement as a legal specialist about the behavior of the two sides in this incident, Oliver Kurtin, a professor of international law at Free University Brussels said:

England's behavior surprises me, because this is not an issue that can be resolved with force. Before any judgment one needs technical and legal data, and then the reasoning of the legal specialists will determine where the issue stands. Both sides of the issue must present evidence.

One the one hand some of the English sailors have admitted they were in Iran's waters. Even if they do not accept this, one can investigate. If I wanted to judge based on the English evidence and according to a few reactions, I could not make a correct judgment.

We noted that some American and German officials have made this judgment and have supported the English. This professor at Free University Brussels said: I do not know how they made this prejudgment without having the slightest evidence. It is obvious this is a political measure, not a legal one.

With regard to Iraq also the Americans brought some maps claiming there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, something that was completely unfounded.

Simon Peterman, a professor of political science at the University of Liege in Belgium, also criticed the English uproar and the utilitarian use of the media. He said: My advice is that London not make a situation difficult that can easily be resolved with talks, and send independent technical and legal experts.

Definitely London's appeal to the Security Council will produce no result for England, because this issue is being debated even now in New York.

Continuing, Oliver Kurtin said it is strange to refer such a request to the Security Council. He said: The English measure is in general unprincipled and disappointing legally.

If I were to judge this event as an attorney, in view of the fact that the English also went into Iranian waters in the past and promised not to do it again, I consider Iran's behavior to be in complete accordance with international law.

Imagine if the English also made a guarantee this time that they would not repeat this, what would be the executive support for that? The only to avoid violations like this is to do exactly what Iran did. According to international law Iran can try the trespasser in their nation's courts. This is the right of every nation including Iran.

Announcer: Islamic Republic of Iran correspondent, Brussels.

Crosposted to Satellite News (Iran)

Posted by John at April 1, 2007 12:09 AM

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