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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Britain Seeks Unconditional Release

LONDON -- Britain refused to back down Monday in its call for the unconditional release of its 15 naval crew members despite an Iranian state-run television station flashing repeated claims that they had confessed to trespassing into Iranian waters.

Video footage has shown four of the 15 saying they were captured in Iranian waters on March 23, including footage Sunday in which two of the sailors used maps to show the alleged location where they were seized. Iran has said the others have also confessed.

Britain said the latest so-called confessions would not alter attempts to secure the crew's release through diplomatic channels.

"The Iranians know our position, they know that stage-managed TV appearances are not going to affect our position," a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair said on condition of anonymity, in line with government policy. "They know we have strong international support."

Ministers were scheduled to hold a government crisis committee meeting.

"They've been detained against their will, we have not had consular access and we've made it quite clear they were seized in Iraqi waters, and we want them released," a foreign office spokesman said also on condition of anonymity.

The eight British sailors and seven marines were detained by Iranian forces while patrolling for smugglers near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab, a waterway that has long been a disputed border between Iraq and Iran.

The crisis has grown tenser with broadcasts made of the captured crew -- footage the British government has called unacceptable.

In Tehran, about 200 students threw rocks and firecrackers at the British Embassy on Sunday, calling for the expulsion of ambassador Geoffrey Adams.

The protesters chanted "death to Britain" and "death to America" as they hurled stones at the embassy.