Thursday, April 05, 2007

British 'hostages' free

I think that there is little doubt in the world that Iran got the upper hand in this round of confrontation. They had masterfully gotten a huge public relations scoop over the capture of 15 British service personnel.

The Iranian President, announced yesterday that the personnel were all pardoned and would be freed immediately as a gesture of good will. He claimed that the release was done to mark the prophet's birthday and also as a gift to mark the festivals of easter and pass-over.

After his announcement, they were put on a regular BA flight from Tehran to Heathrow. According to reports, they were put on business class flights and were sipping champagne on their way back. How generous of the Iranians. The personnnel are now in the Royal Marines base in Devon and being debriefed by the military. After which, they will be reunited with their families.

As you can see from the picture, the personnel were all happy and weren't mistreated in the slightest. According to news reports, the personnel had actually thanked the president for the kindness that they had received and also for the pardon that he gave them. I'm sure that we can agree that they were not under 'duress' when they said that.

Some people had been speculating that this mishandling was done by the British in order to create a pre-text for military action in Iran. I don't believe that it's true because it is so 'un-British' to do that. Also, they had kindly asked the US to stay out of this business. I guess that the British were just as worried about the US spoiling things and getting more people killed by going in guns-blazing.

What happened recently, was a series of events that might be viewed as extremely coincidental. Although the US, UK and Iran all deny that any deals were struck, things happened. A high ranking Iranian official was released by US forces on Tuesday. Iran had also been given access to another five 'diplomats' that the US forces had kept incommunicado for a couple of months.

Well, whatever the reason it is for their release, whether it's the goodwill of the Iran people, or the back-room political negotiations that we will never hear about, it is great that the crisis is over and averted without any bloodshed.

I wonder how this will affect the rumoured US attack on Iran scheduled for this weekend. Hopefully, that will remain what it is, just a rumour. The Iranians have shown that they respond better to soft negotiation tactics. So, maybe everyone should work things out at the table rather than go to war.

*** screenshot of WP image ***

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