From Axis of Logic
British Naval Personnel held in Iran
By Robert Thompson
Mar 31, 2007, 11:35
Letter sent to the BBC Radio 4 on 29th March 2007
It is time that Mr Blair and Mrs Beckett told the truth about the maritime boundary between Iraq and Iran. There was in 1978 (I believe I have the correct year) a treaty which fixed the river boundary between the two countries at the middle of the Shatt-al–Arab, but the line of this boundary was due to be reviewed every ten years in accordance with natural displacement of the river bed. This has never been done. Beyond the estuary into the Arabo-Persian Gulf no agreement has ever been made as to where the boundaries between Iran, Iraq and Kuwait run.
This means that it is perfectly possible that any particular point in that area can, according to the law of each of these three countries, be within its boundary. Unless he has hopeless (supposedly expert) advisers, Mr Blair must have been informed that he cannot prove that the Royal Navy boats were in Iraqi waters, and equally well no-one can prove that they were definitely within Iranian waters. By persisting in making such ridiculous claims, he and Mrs Beckett are putting in danger the lives and liberty of British service personnel throughout the region.
From the manner in which Mr Blair has reacted to this incident, I draw the conclusion that it might have been set up deliberately to provide an excuse to treat Iran as an aggressor, and thus to try to justify all kinds of hostile action against Iran.
Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that HMS Cornwall did not have sufficiently sophisticated radar and other means of knowing about the Iranian forces moving towards the two small boats in a relatively calm sea.
For the sake of the Royal Navy personnel now held in Iran, Mr Blair should admit that he was mistaken, always a hard thing for arrogant politicians to do, and concede that the sovereignty over that whole area of the Gulf is unsettled in international law. Then diplomacy could have a chance.
Everyone should feel deep sympathy for these pawns in the political game being played by Mr Blair, and for their families back in the United Kingdom.
Retired Solicitor (Honours), England and Wales
Avocat Honoraire au Barreau de Boulogne-sur-Mer