UK using 'fake boundaries' in Iran dispute - former British envoy
Islamic Republic News Agency – March 26, 2007
The British government is using 'fake maritime boundaries' in its claim that Iran's arrest of its servicemen was allegedly in Iraqi territorial waters, according to former head of Foreign Office's maritime section, Craig Murray.
"The Iran/Iraq maritime boundary shown on the British government map does not exist. It has been drawn up by the British Government," Murray said after the Ministry of Defence published a map about the incident on Wednesday.
"This published boundary is a fake with no legal force," he said.
"Only Iraq and Iran can agree their bilateral boundary, and they never have done this in the (Persian) Gulf," he pointed out.
Murray, who previously carried out British negotiations on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, said the only boundary was inside the river between the two countries because there is the land border too.
When presenting Britain's claim, deputy chief of defence staff, Vice Admiral Charles Style admitted that his government had been given a second set of coordinates by Iran about last Friday's detention of 15 marines and sailors that were in Iranian waters.
The former diplomat, who was dismissed as Britain's Ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2004 after disagreeing with his government's foreign policy, castigated the press for failing to challenge the validity of government's claim.
"The mainstream media and even the blogosphere has bought this hook, line and sinker," he said.
Murray said that even accepting the British coordinates showed that the incident took place "closer to Iranian land than Iraqi land." This, he said, also "underlines the point that the British produced border is not a reliable one."
Earlier this week, he said that Iran's action in detaining foreign military personnel was legitimate under international law.
He also questioned what Britain's navy was doing in allegedly looking for smuggled cars when the incident took place.
Britain would have been allowed to enter Iranian territorial waters if in "Hot pursuit" of terrorists, slavers or pirates, but "they weren't doing any of those things," Murray said.
Last updated 30/03/2007