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Iran Interrogates 15 British Naval Personnel Seized Friday


Iran says it is interrogating 15 British naval personnel captured Friday to determine if their alleged illegal entry into Iranian waters was intentional.

Iranian officials say the 14 men and one woman could be charged with a crime if they entered Iranian waters on purpose.

Britain maintains the 15 were in Iraqi waters when they were seized and has repeatedly demanded their immediate release and access to them.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari also demanded their release in a telephone call late Sunday, with his Iranian counterpart. Zebari said information indicates the Britons were detained in Iraqi territorial waters, where they were operating with the approval of the Iraqi government.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called the detention "unjustified and wrong." The White House says it shares Britain's "concern and outrage" over the seizure of the Britons.

Iranian forces detained the crew on Friday after the British conducted a routine inspection of a merchant ship in the Shatt al-Arab waterway between Iran and Iraq.

Three years ago, Iranian forces seized six British marines and two sailors in the same area. They were released three days later.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.