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British commander urges more cooperation with Iran in Persian Gulf

London, May 3, IRNA -- The Persian Gulf will not be secure unless the Anglo-American coalition forces cooperate more closely with Iran, according to the captain of a British warship patrolling the region.

Commander Adrian Cassar said Monday that without the assistance of the Iranian authorities, terrorists and smugglers would continue to move relatively freely in Iraqi waters and have easy access to the mainland.

"We should be talking to the Iranian authorities more because we need to cooperate with them in order to make more impact on the problems," said the captain of HMS Grafton, the only British frigate patrolling the northern area of the Persian Gulf.

"Until they are brought into the security operation the situation is always going to be difficult to control," he was quoted as saying by Britain's PA News.

The 185-man British frigate has been tasked along with vessels from the US 5th Fleet and Australian Navy to defend the vital Al- Bakra and Khawr al-Amaya oil terminals, which produce 90 percent of Iraq's oil output.

The terminals were attacked last weekend, killing three American sailors.

Cassar said that the occupying forces in Iraq had been making good progress regulating shipping in Iraqi territory, but had little information concerning movements in neighboring Iranian waters.

He said that his frigate, which left Dubai on Sunday for its latest three-week patrol, had been communicating with Iranian ships, and relations had generally been "very cordial."

... Payvand News - 5/3/04 ... --

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