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Iran Says No Need To Try U.K. Service Personnel

An Iranian student demonstrating outside the British Embassy on April 1 (Fars) April 3, 2007 -- Ali Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, says he believes the standoff over 15 British service personnel being detained by Iran could be resolved without a trial.

Larijani said in an interview with Britain's Channel 4 News that Iran's priority is to solve the crisis through diplomacy, and Tehran is not interested in seeing the issue get more complicated.

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said London shared Larijani's preference for a diplomatic solution.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the early release of the British personnel and said he hoped the rhetoric between the Iranian and British sides could be "toned down."

"I would hope that this rhetoric should be toned down, which is not desirable in helping resolve this issue," Ban said. "As the secretary-general, I would again hope that we would be able to see some early release of these U.K. sailors."

Britain has rejected Iranian accusations that the British service personnel were operating in Iranian waters when they were captured by Iranian forces on March 23 in the Persian Gulf between Iraq and Iran.

(compiled from agency reports)

Iraq And Iran

Iraq And Iran

Iranian Shi'a protesting the Golden Mosque Bombing in Iraq on February 24

WHAT IS GOING ON? On March 8, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable discussion on relations between Iraq and Iran. Although most analysts agree that Iran has been actively involved in Iraq since the U.S.-led military operation to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, they continue to debate the nature, extent, and intent of that involvement.
The RFE/RL briefing featured WAYNE WHITE, former deputy director of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia, and A. WILLIAM SAMII, RFE/RL's regional analyst for Iran and editor of the "RFE/RL Iran Report."


Listen to the complete RFE/RL briefing (about 75 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


Iran/Iraq: Bilateral Ties Improving Despite U.S. Worries

Renewed Speculation About Tehran And Instability In Iraq

Iran/Iraq: Neighbors Mending Ties, But Outstanding Issues Remain


RFE/RL's coverage of Iran. RFE/RL's coverage of Iraq.