Iran frees 15 captive British sailors

“On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet (Muhammad) … and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people – with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial – forgave those 15. This pardon is a gift to the British people, – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iran has agreed to free the 15 detained British sailors and marines as an Easter holiday “gift” to the British people.

He said the captives, who were seized while on patrol in the northern Persian Gulf on March 23, would be taken to Tehran airport at the end of the news conference that he was addressing. An Iranian official in London said they would be handed over to British diplomats.

The release of the crew members would end a 13-day standoff between London and Tehran that was sparked when the crew was seized as it searched for smugglers off the Iraqi coast. Britain denied Iranian claims the crew had entered Iranian waters..
His announcement came shortly after he pinned a medal on the chest of the Iranian coast guard commander who intercepted the sailors and marines.

In London, the office of Prime Minister Tony Blair said it welcomed the news.

“We are now establishing exactly what this means in terms of the method and timing of their release,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

An Iranian official in London said the crew members would be handed over to British diplomats in Tehran and that it would then be up to the Foreign Office to decide how they would return home.

“They will go through some brief formalities and then they will go to the embassy,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. “They can go on a British Airways flight to Heathrow, they can go through the UAE (United Arab Emirates), it is up to the British Embassy in Tehran in coordination with the Foreign Office here.”

Ahmadinejad said Iran will never accept trespassing in its territorial waters.

“On behalf of the great Iranian people, I want to thank the Iranian coast guard who courageously defended and captured those who violated their territorial waters,” he said.

“We are sorry that British troops remain in Iraq and their sailors are being arrested in Iran,” Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad asked Blair not to “punish” the crew for confessing that they had been in Iranian waters when they were seized by Iranian coast guard. Iran broadcast video of some of the crew giving confessions, angering Britain.

He also criticized Britain for deploying Leading Seaman Faye Turney, one of the 15 detainees, in the Gulf, pointing out that she is a woman with a child.

“How can you justify seeing a mother away from her home, her children? Why don’t they respect family values in the West?” he asked of the British government.

Source: Collegian 


14 Responses to “Iran frees 15 captive British sailors”

  1. April 5, 2007 at 9:51 am

    I loved this action by Iranians — Gutsyyy :>

  2. 2 Agent M
    April 5, 2007 at 11:30 am

    That is what you call ‘slapping like a gentleman’! Haha!
    He, Ahmadinejad, also said that it is a shame that such talented and gifted people (the 15 sailors) have nothing better to do than serve in the army when they have potential to be so much more.
    Way to go Iran!

  3. 3 o.v
    April 5, 2007 at 11:35 am

    >>>We are now establishing exactly what this means in terms of the method and timing of their release…

    i really wish US/UK would stop making a mystery or conspiracy out of every thing the rest of the world does for once. Be happy Iran returned them back to you and get over with it you idiots.

  4. 4 fiddlerdave
    April 5, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Iran’s line gets firmer with a nice nuclear friend in Pakistan, which has the F16 jets USA to deliver the nukes, at least to Israel. It doesn’t look like they have any of the new ones they were to get for being being one of the COWs (Coalition Of the Willing), but if they do, I hope the USA included a remote “kill” switch. There has been long range planning for this, maybe it was easy to promise planes Pakistan would never get.

    Well, Bush has said “bring ’em on”. I guess the WW3 talk was not just rhetoric. “Interesting Times” may be just around the corner.

  5. 5 GLOCK
    April 5, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Here’s something about Pakistan that many Pakistanis ight not know themselves even: they have Block 15 F-16 A’s & B’s and are on track to receive Block 50/52 C & D models. While USAF F-16’s are nuclear capable, the Pak’s birds were not so equipped when they left the U.S., nor would subsequent sales be allowed if the initial birds were modified by the PAF. Also, developing nuclear missiles is one thing, but developing a nuclear warhead that is capable of being airdropped from a light weight fighter, (say 2000-2500lbs max weight) is quite a different feat altogether. The Pak’s are not reported to have this type of delivery system, or modified aircraft, nor trained pilots.

    The Paki’s have few, if any, air refueling assets at this time, although they are working on a total force of 14 tankers by 2012. Suppose if Pak actually does decide to help Iran in case US attacks, their F-16’s unrefueled combat (take off, attack target, return to base) radius of 500 miles is not going to be enough to hit potential targets.

    So, the only way the Pak’s can strike effectively in any meaningful way, is through a Nuclear Missile strike.

    Would any one have any bets on how successful they will be on that score?

  6. 6 Shahab Alam
    April 5, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    to glock:
    I would not like to totally buy into the assumption that, if at any point, the desirability of delivering a nuclear bomb is there for us, we Pakistani’s have not put something together on the planes we bought from China, which would not be under your control, or even review, or even knowledge that we had done anything! For years you had no idea of Pakistan’s nuclear dissemination program, it was all a surprise for you all…..so cobbling up a way to strap a nuke to a fighter, especially if it was for a kamikaze run, would not seem technologically out of possibility.

    about the refueling bit… Return to base? Trade one fighter and pilot for a strike against a desirable target, like aircraft carrers? See “kamikazi”, above. This is the kind of thinking on your part that made 911 possible. And remember, with a nuke, you not only have to shoot the plane down, you have to do it well outside the blast radius, where in a small theater like the area around Iran, might be a bit of a trick.

    Retaliation? How will you know whose jet it was? Whose bomb it was? They might paint some enemy’s markings on the plane as well to really mix up the pot. The bomb could might as well be coming from Iran or Saudi Arabia who have recently warned US to NOT attack Iran. Even if you leave all that aside, why in the first place would US need our bases here in Pakistan when they have the 53rd and 54th states aka Afghanistan and Iraq to operate out of?

    You guys in the US should stop playing the blame game and picking random enemies out of thin air!

  7. 7 Ayesha Fazli
    April 5, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Mr GLOCK, have you ever wondered that maybe, just maybe the great American Empire is starting to develope cracks. Maybe the unprovoked attack on Iraq was a mistake that is coming back to bite you? The Saudis have also warned you NOT to attack Iran.
    But of course your “Great Decider” will, as always, have the only real say. All the rest of you can do is wait and prepare for World War three the best you can because your leadership will be responsible for not only invoking it but pushing you in to it as well.

  8. April 5, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Anyone who’s played the board game “RISK” knows that the long-term winners are the countries that sit back and let everyone else fight, while themselves building and growing steadily – like Pakistan, India and China are doing now.
    The USA is playing a losing game, long-term. The balance of power is shifting in the world and the outcome may not be pretty for them.

  9. 9 Labib
    April 5, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Why is every1 dragging Pak or US in all this in the first place?? This news is regarding Iran and UK so its better if we stick to debating about that only here.

  10. 10 Opinionated
    April 5, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    United States should not underestimate the Muslim world and neither should they overestimate their superior military infrastructure. Granted they have the technology and the manpower but they are spreading themselves too thin and the objections and resistance against their war on terror is growing day by day. They might not be as lucky as before with their allies or their enemies if they open another front.

  11. 11 Wonderfull
    April 5, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    I will add to Shahab, there is a strong possibility China will participate in a secret manner as well. Why would they miss the opportunity of testing their technology against their foe?

  12. 12 Wasif Toor
    April 5, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Highly unlikely that China would want a hand in this at this moment because they seem to be quite busy developing themselves in to an economic giant. Don’t forget that even though almost EVERY THING in the world today is made in China including warfare technology, their own army is not equipped enough to handle the technology. China knows this short coming and that is why IF it does decide to step in, it will not be in the form of a direct confrontation or miltary/territorial threat.
    However, China does have a weak-point: Taiwan. US might provoke China by exploiting that angle but if the Americans have any sense at all, they won’t make that mistake.

  13. 13 Wonderfull
    April 5, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Wasif, I dont think China can allow western powers take a strong hold of ME. If it wants a superpowers role in the coming years. What I have noted about them is they do everything without western style fanfare. I will give you an example. I was talking to a person of African origins. He recently visited his native country and was startled to see Chinese everywhere, in all areas of the economy.
    As far as Iran situation is concerned, remember how Russian anti-tank technology was used against IDF tanks. So again why wouldnt China test its technonology against its foe?
    As far as Taiwan is concerned, yes in old days it posed a problem. Chinses are very patient and they know how to wait out any hostility. Second they hold one trillion US dollars in reserves. They can sink USA in a single day and the americans know it very well. Just a few months back, Rumsfeld tried to say something against China, and the Chinese ambassador at UN in a, interview on BBC, said he should ‘shutup’. Somehow the US media chose not to tell this in the country.
    I think China is enjoying how USA is destroying itself thesedays. Why would they let it go easily? So I still think China will play a secret role in this conflict. The realities of geopolitics are cruel and China is a very good player.

  14. 14 Opinionated
    April 5, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    I agree with Wonderfull. There is a lot to learn and gain from a) watching the conflict from the side-lines and b) providing the teams your toys to see how they fair in real-time. China WILL emerge as the next super power in the coming decades and there is no stopping that. United States’ efforts to curb terror in their unique style will only help pace things up for the Eastern dragons.

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