The highlighted sentence is the operative one.
ROYAL MARINE BASE CHIVENOR, England – British sailors and marines held for nearly two weeks in
Iran were blindfolded, bound and threatened with prison if they did not say they had strayed into Iranian waters, a Royal Navy lieutenant who was among the capitives said Friday.
Lt. Felix Carman, safely home with his 14 colleagues, said the crew faced harsh interrogation by their Iranian captors and slept in stone cells on piles of blankets. Unable to see and kept isolated, they heard weapons cocking.
“We were blindfolded, our hands were bound and we were forced up against a wall. Throughout our ordeal we faced constant psychological pressure,” Carman said. “All of us were kept in isolation. We were interrogated most nights and presented with two options. If we admitted that we’d strayed, we’d be on a plane to (Britain) pretty soon. If we didn’t, we faced up to seven years in prison.”
Within hours of the news conference, Iranian state television said the British military had “dictated” to its sailors what to say.
Royal Marine Capt. Chris Air said the crew of 15, which was out on a routine operation on March 23, was confronted by members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
“They rammed our boats, and trained their heavy machine guns, RPGs, and weapons on us. Another six boats were closing in on us,” Air said. “We realized that had we resisted there would have been a major fight, one we could not have won, with consequences that would have major strategic impacts. We made a conscious decision not to engage the Iranians.”
Iran insists the British strayed into its territory; the sailors and the British government deny the accusation and maintain they were in Iraqi waters.
Britain’s top naval officer said boarding operations would be suspended while a review is conducted.
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