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Iran president 'pardons' UK military personnel held after border incident

[JURIST] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [official website, in Persian] announced Wednesday at a news conference [IRNA report] in Tehran that he had "pardoned" and was releasing 15 British military personnel detained [JURIST report] by Iranian forces earlier this month, and would not bring them to trial. An Iranian ambassador had previously suggested the UK personnel could face charges [JURIST report] stemming from allegedly trespassing on Iranian waters contrary to international law. AP has more. The International Herald Tribune has additional coverage.

The British government had published GPS data [MOD press release] purportedly demonstrating that the personnel had not been in Iranian waters. The soldiers were seized at the mouth of a river that Iraq refers to as the Shatt al-Arab [Wikipedia backgrounder] and Iran calls the Arvandrud. Control of the river and its use has been a longstanding source of tension [ICE backgrounder] between the two countries.

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