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    Iran unfazed by UK decision to freeze contact over Navy detainees

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    Tehran is undaunted by the UK's tough reaction to the detention of British sailors since relations between the two countries "have long been stagnant," a Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.

    TEHRAN, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - Tehran is undaunted by the UK's tough reaction to the detention of British sailors since relations between the two countries "have long been stagnant," a Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.

    Britain froze all official bilateral contacts with Iran until all of its 15 detained naval personnel had been released, the British foreign secretary said earlier Wednesday.

    "The relations between London and Tehran have long been on ice in any event and are now in a state of stagnation, so comments by the British foreign secretary will not have much of an impact," Iranian television reported an unidentified Foreign Ministry source as saying.

    Iran said earlier Wednesday it was ready to release the only female among the UK sailors seized in the Persian Gulf last Friday.

    London still has no idea about the whereabouts or the condition of its 15 captured sailors, one of whom was a woman.

    "The servicewoman arrested by Iranian authorities together with UK Navy officers will be released today or tomorrow," an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

    Iran also said it did not need any intermediaries in resolving the conflict with the UK.

    "As we stated earlier, once the preliminary investigation is over, the British consulate will be able to get in touch with the detained servicemen," the spokesman said.

    "Since we have no problems with the British Embassy in Tehran, there is no need for any mediation by other states to settle the current dispute," he said.

    The British Ministry of Defense has received information proving that 15 Navy personnel were 1.7 nautical miles (3.1 kilometers) inside Iraqi waters when they were seized last Friday.

    British Vice Admiral Charles Style said the Ministry of Defense "unambiguously contested" Iran's claims that the Royal Navy personnel had strayed into Iranian waters.

    Style said the seizure was "unacceptable, wrong and illegal."

    The British Ministry of Defense said Iran detained 15 Royal Navy sailors and marines from HMS Cornwall in Iraqi territorial waters, which in accordance with a UN Security Council mandate under Resolution 1723 was inspecting ships in the Persian Gulf.

    Following Britain's claims Iran's embassy in London issued a statement in which it said the sailors and marines had been 0.5 km inside Iranian waters at the time.

    Iran's Foreign Ministry accused the Royal Navy of illegally entering Iranian territorial waters.

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