Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iran shows video of captured Britons

From the AP:

Iranian state TV showed video Wednesday of the 15 British sailors and marines who were seized last week, including a female captive who wore a white tunic and a black head scarf and said the British boats "had trespassed" in Iranian waters.

Britain's military said its vessels were 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi waters when Iran seized the sailors and marines on Friday after they completed a search of a civilian vessel in the Iraqi part of the Shatt al-Arab waterway. The border between Iran and Iraq has been disputed for centuries.

Even more important...

Vice Adm. Charles Style told reporters that the Iranians had provided a position on Sunday — a location that he said was in Iraqi waters. By Tuesday, Iranian officials had given a revised position two miles east, placing the British inside Iranian waters — a claim he said was not verified by global positioning system coordinates.

"It is hard to understand a legitimate reason for this change of coordinates," Style said.

Style gave the satellite coordinates of the British crew as 29 degrees 50.36 minutes north latitude and 048 degrees 43.08 minutes east longitude, and said it had been confirmed by an Indian-flagged merchant ship boarded by the sailors and marines.

Gee, imagine that, their first coordinates were inside Iraqi waters and later it was revised two miles east. Hmm, quite a coincidence, wouldn't you say?

Not that it matters all that much to me, because this is not how countries NOT AT WAR behave.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki denied this, saying, "That's not true. It happened in Iranian territorial waters."

Mottaki also told The Associated Press in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that Turney would be released Wednesday or Thursday, and he suggested that the British vessels' alleged entry into Iranian waters may have been a mistake.

"This is a violation that just happened. It could be natural. They did not resist," he told the AP.

"Today or tomorrow, the lady will be released," Mottaki said Wednesday on the sidelines of an Arab summit in the Saudi capital, referring to Turney, the only woman among the 15.

So, why just the female? Enter the weakest link of the crew..

"Obviously we trespassed into their waters," British sailor Faye Turney said on the video broadcast by Al-Alam, an Arabic-language, Iranian state-run television station that is carried across the Middle East.

"They were very friendly and very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people. They explained to us why we've been arrested, there was no harm, no aggression," she said.

Turney, 26, was shown eating with sailors and marines. At another point, she was seen sitting in a room with a floral curtains, smoking a cigarette.

"My name is leading sailman Faye Turney. I come from England. I have served in Foxtrot 99. I've been in the navy for nine years," she said.

Turney was the only person to be shown speaking in the video.

It also showed what appeared to be a handwritten letter from Turney to her family. The letter said, in part, "I have written a letter to the Iranian people to apologize for us entering their waters."

The video also showed a brief scene of what appeared to be the British crew sitting in an Iranian boat in open waters immediately after their capture.

A yup, this letter and statement was made without coercion I am sure.

And this is why civilized countries do not behave like this...

Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons that "there was no justification whatever ... for their detention, it was completely unacceptable, wrong and illegal."

"We had hoped to see their immediate release; this has not happened. It is now time to ratchet up the diplomatic and international pressure in order to make sure the Iranian government understands its total isolation on this issue," Blair said.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said she had suspended bilateral talks on all other issues with Tehran until the 15 were released. Visits by officials will be stopped, issuing visas to Iranian officials suspended and British support for events such as trade missions put on hold, her office said.

"No one should be in any doubt about the seriousness with which we regard these events," Beckett told the House of Commons.

Beckett said Britain had now begun a "new phase of diplomatic activity," following Iran's failure to release the sailors and marines, or allow British officials access.

See, we do not respond well to acts of war. But, this should come as no surprise to anyone. you might remember the Iran hostage situation in the eighties that only ended when Ronald Reagan got elected and Dhimmi Jimmy Carter ousted. Abbadabbadoodoo was the chief hostage taker back then.

Iran is feeling the pressure of the sanctions already. They are rationing gas to their people and the regime is losing the support of the people and possibly even the mullahs. They want something from this they are not likely to get. They must abandon their nuclear ambitions and that is that.

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