Iran Frees British Captives

April 05, 2007 01:55 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Iranian President Ahmadinejad styles the release of the servicemen as a "gift"; Blair defends his country’s refusal to negotiate.

30 Second Summary

April 5, 2007––Iran ended 13 days of tension by releasing 15 British Royal Navy servicemen whose captivity had made international headlines.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the move on Iranian TV as a “gift” to Britain. British Prime Minister Tony Blair countered by insisting that the release occurred “without any deal, without any negotiation, without any side agreement of any nature.”

On March 23, the Royal Navy seamen were on the Iran–Iraq border, conducting a routine boat patrol, when they were seized by members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. For almost two weeks, British and Iranian officials disputed whether the British servicemen were detained in Iraqi or Iranian waters.

The incident occurs at a time of heightened tension between Iran and the West. Iran continues to flout international calls for the curtailment of its nuclear program, and the United States has accused Iran of aiding Iraqi insurgents.

Some commentators have suggested that the secret to Iranian foreign policy is to be found in its lucrative oil reserves. The price of crude tends to rise when Iran's relations with the West worsen.

The manner in which the detainees gained their freedom has divided pundits. Some detect a loss of face for Western leaders; others interpret Ahmadinejad's action as a sign of a new Iranian moderation.


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