By Aref Mohammed
BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - Iranian forces seized 15 British servicemen on Friday in the mouth of the waterway that separates Iran and Iraq, triggering a diplomatic crisis at a time of heightened tensions over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Britain said two boatloads of sailors and marines from the naval frigate Cornwall had searched a merchant vessel in Iraqi waters on a U.N. approved mission when Iranian gunboats encircled and captured them.

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