British Government denied that the five sailors detained by Iran had any malicious intentions and demanded their immediate release hoping that the issue would be resolved without turning into a diplomatic row of the sort two years ago when a group of British Navy sailors and marines were held for a month by Revolutionary Guards for allegedly illegally entering Iranian waters.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband sought to play down the incident describing it as simply a “consular” matter. He added that the sailors may have “inadvertently” strayed into Iranian waters while “going about their sport”.

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