Iran holds yacht with 5 Brits

2009-11-30 22:02

London - Iran is holding five British sailors after stopping their racing yacht in the Persian Gulf, the British government said on Monday.

The yacht, owned by Sail Bahrain, was stopped on its way from the tiny island country to the Gulf city of Dubai on Wednesday when it "may have strayed inadvertently into Iranian waters", Britain's foreign office said.

It said the crew "are still in Iran" but did not specify where they are and what their legal status is. A call seeking clarification from the foreign office was not immediately returned.

Fifteen British military personnel were detained in the Gulf by Iran under disputed circumstances in March 2007. Iran charged them with trespassing in its waters, and the Iranian government televised apologies by some of the captured crew.

All were eventually freed without an apology from Britain, which steadfastly insisted the crew were taken in Iraqi waters, where they were authorised to be.

The phone rang answered at the Iranian Embassy in London.