Vatican helped to free British sailors held by Iran: WikiLeaks cable

December 11th, 2010 - 2:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama London, Dec 11(ANI): The Vatican had intervened to help gain the release of 15 British navy personnel detained by Iran in 2007, according to a classified U.S. diplomatic cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks.

U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to the Vatican, Julieta Noyes, made the assertion in a cable -dated June 26, 2009- intended to set the scene ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Rome the following month.

“The Vatican helped secure the release of British sailors detained in Iranian waters in April 2007,” the Guardian quoted the cable, as saying.

“It is unclear how much clout the Vatican really has with Iran, however,” it added.

Iran had detained 15 Royal Navy personnel, from HMS Cornwall, on March 23, 2007, while they were on a patrol near the Shatt al-Arab waterway between Iraq and Iran.

Tehran had accused the sailors of illegally entering Iranian territorial waters.

In the course of events, the British forces claimed that the vessel was in Iraqi waters, but the Iranian side insisted that they were in Iran’s territorial waters.

The 15 personnel were released after 12 days on April 4, in an incident widely viewed as humiliating for Britain. (ANI)

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