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Straw `very glad' British couple released by Iran


London, Nov. 11, IRNA-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Friday welcomed the release of a British couple, Rupert and Linda Wise, after being arrested in Iran for straying into Iranian waters near Abu Musa island in the Persian Gulf.

"I am very glad that they have been released safely and without any charge by the Iranians. It took a good deal of work behind the scenes to achieve this result and I am just relieved that we have got there," Straw said.

The British couple, also with Australian national Paul Shulton, were taken into Iranian custody for questioning after their yatcht was said to have inadvertently sailed near to Abu Musa on October 28.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's flagship current affairs programme during a visit to Iraq, Straw said that the incident had been "distressing for the Wises and for their family."

During his interview, the British Foreign Secretary again spelt out that any military action against Iran was "inconceivable" despite the rise in tensions following UK accusations of Iranian `elements' being involved in Iraq's insurgency.

"The Prime Minister (Tony Blair) made it clear, both at the time and more recently, that he was not talking about military action," Straw said.

"I know there is speculation about this, I understand that. But military action is not on the agenda for the United Kingdom, for the EU/E3, nor is it, as Secretary (of State Condoleezza) Rice has made clear, for the United States," he insist.

"This is an issue which has to be resolved by a combination of diplomatic and other pressure," the Foreign Secretary insisted.

He suggested that this should be based upon recognizing Iran's right and meeting its obligations.

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