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Middle east

Foreign Office summons Iranian ambassador

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-01

Following the arrest of five British sailors by Iran, the Iranian ambassador to London was summoned to the Foreign Office on Tuesday for talks. Meanwhile, Bahrain says it has made contact with Tehran in an effort to free them.

AFP - Britain's Foreign Office summoned Iran's ambassador to London in for talks Tuesday on the detention of five British yachtsmen, a spokesman said.

"He was called for a meeting on the situation," a Foreign Office spokesman said, adding Britain had sought confirmation of where the five were being held and asked for consular access and a "swift resolution" to the situation.

The meeting between Iranian ambassador Rasoul Movahedian and the permanent under-secretary -- the top civil servant in the Foreign Office -- lasted about 30 minutes.

The British official "reiterated the points we have already urged (on the Iranian) ministry of foreign affairs: confirmation of where they're being held; granting consular access and for a swift resolution," the spokesman said.

The diplomatic exchange came after Iran earlier said that the five sailors, detained last week after apparently straying into Iranian waters, would be dealt with firmly if found guilty of what it called "ill intentions."

The five men on board an 18-metre (60-foot) racing yacht were detained last week by the Revolutionary Guards, the force's navy chief told the Fars news agency.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband earlier said he was awaiting a statement from the Iranian foreign ministry.

He also told lawmakers that Britain was not treating the incident as linked to the standoff over the Islamic republic's nuclear programme, which the West suspects has military aims despite Tehran's denial.

"There is no link at all between the position of the yachtsmen and the Iranian nuclear file," Miliband said.

Date created : 2009-12-01

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