November 11, 2005

UK couple freed after being jailed by Iran

LONDON (Reuters) - A British couple were home in Dubai on
Friday after spending 13 days in an Iranian jail for sailing
their yacht near a disputed island in the Gulf.

Their detention came as relations between London and Tehran
have been cooling over Iran's nuclear ambitions, Iraq and other
issues. But Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Britain was not
drawing wider conclusions about the incident.

Stuart Wise said he and his wife Linda had planned to
anchor near the island of Abu Musa, which is claimed by both
Iran and the United Arab Emirates, after reading on maps that
it was a safe harbor. Two gunboats pulled up and whisked them
to Iran.

"To be frank, we were treated fine. We were treated
courteously. We were given food," he told BBC radio from Dubai.
"At the individual level, I have no complaints about the
Iranians we came into contact with."

But he said the couple were questioned for days, without
being told what they were accused of.

"I think we had five interrogation teams," he said. "I
think they thought this was some subtle form of spying,

The couple were allowed to phone their family, who alerted
the British embassy. They were released on Thursday and flew
home overnight, the British Foreign Office said.

"It has been distressing for the Wises and their family,"
Straw told BBC radio from Baghdad, where he is on a visit.

"It took a good deal of work behind the scenes to achieve
this result and I'm glad we've got there."

But Britain was not drawing wider conclusions.

"I don't think it tells one a huge amount actually," he
said. "You never know with these types of incidents at a local
level exactly what has happened which leads to detentions and