Feeds

Were the snatched Brit sailors in 'disputed waters'?

Renewed Iran matelot-napping brouhaha dissected

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Analysis Last week, the Times obtained an MoD document relating to the Iran sailors seizure fracas last year. It was heavily redacted, but there was a paragraph left which referred to the well-known fact that part of the maritime boundary between Iraqi and Iranian waters has never been agreed by Iran.

The Times ran this under the headline "Report reveals Iran seized British sailors in disputed waters". This was widely picked up by other media, who went further - for instance the Guardian, under the headline "Bordering on Deceit" with a strap: "Last year we were told that British naval officers were indisputably in Iraqi waters. If only we had been more sceptical".

Actually, a lot of people were at the time, pointing out that the last time Iran agreed to a border with Iraq was in 1975 - and that border ran only to the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway which divides the two countries. How, these people asked, could there be an agreed border out at sea when the Iranians had never signed up to one? How, in other words, could the UK Ministry of Defence be so positive that its people hadn't infringed on Iranian territory?

The MoD didn't help itself much on this, issuing a heavily simplifed map:

MoD's map of events.

This, which shows the coastline in ordinary landlubber map style at the high-water mark, has a Territorial Waters (TTW) line clearly drawn on. But, as the Times' MoD document said:

The last agreed demarcation (1975 Algiers Accord) delineated TTW along the Shatt al Arab only. At no juncture have TTW been settled beyond the mouth of this river.

For anyone who'd like to read the released document in all its redacted glory, be our guest (Word doc): we thought we'd get a copy of our own and read the whole thing before mouthing off.

So - bang to rights. The MoD (and Defence Minister Des Browne) was lying. There was and is no territorial line beyond the river mouth.

But hold on. On the Reg defence desk we're always up for a bit of MoD bashing, but in this case Her Majesty's officers and mandarins are only really guilty of failing to explain themselves properly.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?