The Jerusalem Post & Verum Serum – 2007-04-04 08:27:39
Iranian TV: British Sailors Will Leave Teheran on Thursday
The Jerusalem Post / AP
(April 4, 2007) — Iranian state television on Wednesday showed British sailors talking to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the country’s presidential palace apparently as they were being released.
The footage showed Ahmadinejad shaking hands with the sailors and smiling and chatting. A caption to the footage said the conversation was taking place as part of the “process of release” of the British sailors.
The channel said that the British sailors would leave Iran on a plane on Thursday.
At the meeting, the sailors were wearing suits and spoke to the president through a translator.
“We appreciate it. Your people have been really kind to us, and we appreciate it very much,” one of the seized sailors could be heard on the footage saying in English to Ahmadinejad.
One the sailors also was heard saying in English: “We are grateful for your forgiveness.” Ahmadinejad responded in Farsi “You are welcome.”
Earlier Wednesday the Iranian president had announced in a press conference that he had pardoned the 15 British sailors and marines that Iran seized in the Gulf last month and would release them immediately.
“I announce the freedom and return [of the sailors] to the people of Britain. I request the government of Mr. Blair not to question these people or put them on trial for speaking the truth, and I request Mr. Blair that rather than increase international controversy and the occupation of other lands, [he should] take steps towards peace, truthfulness and justice,” Ahmadinejad said.
“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,” he continued, referring to the Muslim prophet’s birthday last Saturday and Easter, next Sunday.
“This pardon is a gift to the British people,” he said.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office says it “welcomes” the release of the sailors but are still studying the implications of such a gesture and shall release an official reaction only after they have properly assessed the news.
The Iranian president announced the pardon minutes after he gave medals of honor to the Iranian coast guards who intercepted the sailors and marines, saying Iran will never accept trespassing of 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, the president told a press conference.
He then interrupted his speech and pinned medals on the chests of three Coast Guard officers involved in capturing the British sailors and marines in the northern Gulf on March 23.
“We are sorry that British troops remain in Iraq and their sailors are being arrested in Iran,” Ahmadinejad said.
He 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.
The announcement came 45 minutes after the beginning of his speech about the grievances Iran has suffered from the hands of the West over history.
Copyright 1995-2007 The Jerusalem Post – http://www.jpost.com/
Iran Hostage Crisis Day 13 – Conspiracy Day
Verum Serum / http://www.verumserum.com/
Posted by John at 12:38 am
(April 4th, 2007) — After two weeks of media silence inside Iran, the papers came out swinging today, accusing the Brits of a dark conspiracy:
Iran’s newspapers ended a fortnight’s enforced silence on the 15 detained UK naval personnel yesterday by depicting the affair as a dark conspiracy hatched by London, with many denouncing the British and some saying the sailors and marines had been sent into Iranian waters to stoke a conflict aimed at isolating the country.
The tightly state-monitored dailies were publishing for the first time since before the national new year holiday.
The usually moderate Etemade Melli accused the Blair government of devising a “pre-planned scenario” to protect the Labour party from an electoral backlash caused by British public opposition to the Iraq war. “Britain was well aware that such an incursion by its military forces would provoke a reaction from Tehran,” the paper wrote. “The existence of hi-tech satellite navigation equipment eliminates the possibility of negligence or error on the part of the British. London has been prepared to pay the price of the arrest … to perform its pre-planned scenario.”
Meanwhile, the Independent is noting their success in blaming everything on the US. Specifically, they note a number of news sites parroting their line from yesterday that the kidnapping of 15 Brits was a response to the “botched raid” in Irbil Jan. 11th:
John Nichols, writing on The Nation magazine’s blog
“President Bush describes Iran’s seizure of 15 British sailors and marines as “inexcusable behaviour”. But did the Bush administration’s anti-Iran machinations lead to the escalation in tensions that culminated in the seizure of the Brits? One of the finest reporters on Middle East affairs argues that this is precisely the case.”
USA Today (website)
“A British newspaper is reporting that Iran seized 15 British sailors in retaliation for a botched attempt by US forces to capture two high-ranking Iranian officials while they were visiting the Kurdish portion of Iraq earlier this year. ‘Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-borne US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds,’ Patrick Cockburn reports in The Independent.”
Fox News (website)
“A botched attempt by the US to abduct two senior Iranian officials on a visit to Iraq 10 weeks ago was the flashpoint for the current crisis in which [Iran] detained 15 British troops in the Persian Gulf, The Independent reported. The US move happened on the morning of January 11, when forces carried out a surprise raid on an established Iranian liaison’s office in northern Iraq, the newspaper claimed.”
Mother Jones (liberal magazine)
“This is precisely how wars get started, an act of aggression by one side followed by an act of retaliation by the other, tit for tat until someone gets nuked. Patrick Cockburn reports that Iran’s capture of 15 British marines and sailors was a direct response to a botched US operation in January, when the military snatched 5 Iranians in Arbil – identified as members of a Revolutionary Guard, or Pasdaran, unit – who were suspected of arming insurgents.”
That’s great that 13 days into this crisis the MSM has managed to connect exactly two points, points that as Allah at HotAir noted yesterday, had already been connected weeks ago by others. If the Nation, Mother Jones etc. want to look into this, check the timeline I posted a week ago. Then talk to me about acts of aggression leading to war.
Finally, the NY Times has a worthwhile report on the division in the Iranian government and how they play into the current crisis. Reporter Michael Slackman notes:
Shortly after the eight British sailors and seven marines were seized in what Iran says were its territorial waters, and what Britain says were Iraqi waters, it quickly became clear that the Guards were in command. Foreign Ministry officials said privately in Tehran that they were not consulted and at one point had no idea even where the sailors and marines were being detained.
Iran Hostage Crisis Day 12 – Submission
Posted by John at 11:35 pm
(April 2nd, 2007) — Update: 6:30PM: Sky News and the Telegraph are reporting further contacts between the UK and Iran. The Independent is saying that there was a discussion last night between “Britain and Dr Ali Larijani, of the Iranian Supreme Security Council.”
At the same time Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett is warning that no one should be overly optimistic about the possibility of a swift release.
Big things happening. Jalal Sharafi, an Iranian diplomat, who was seized on the streets of Bagdad Feb. 4th has suddenly reappeared and is on his way to Iran. Though he was apparently seized by an Iraqi commando unit, Iran believes the US was behind it. This AP story makes clear that the government of Iraq exerted pressure on the unnamed group that had been holding the diplomat.
Furthermore: A senior Iraqi foreign ministry official said on Tuesday that the government was “intensively” seeking release of five Iranians detained by the US military more than two months ago in northern Iraq.
For those that haven’t been paying attention to the details, this was the raid in which US soldiers seized six men on January 11th. One was later released because he had diplomatic papers. The other five were tied to the Revolutionary Guard and have been held since then. There have been several suggestions since this crisis began that the Iranians were looking to get these individuals back.
It’s also likely that the Karbala raid which involved the kidnapping, and later the killing, of five US soldiers was a previous attempt to create a hostage situation like the one now involving the 15 Brits.
Finally, Debka has a behind the scenes look at decision making in Tehran. It’s a battle between those who want to provoke war now and those who want to resolve the situaion. According to Debka, Iran’s plan if its oil refineries are attacked is to strike out at oil production in nearby Saudi Arabia, thereby creating a crisis on the world oil market.
The Brits seem to have resigned themselves to giving in to Iran’s hostage demands. In this case the demands are simple:
Laying out what appeared to be a vague road map for the freeing of the British personnel, Mr Larijani said that, if it was found they had crossed into Iranian territory, there should be an apology and they would then be released.
Capitulate and you’ll get your soldiers back. Then Khameni and Ahmedinejad can go on TV and declare another “Divine Victory” over the infidel. The Revolutionary Guard, the Quds Force, Hezbollah will all celebrate and prepare for the next strategic kidnapping. (Perhaps if Israel will simply agree to stop existing Cpl. Gilad Shalit will be returned as well.)
No doubt related to this weakening of the knees, the Brits have opened a new round of recriminations. Instead of blaming themselves this go, they’re blaming the US. Somehow I should have guessed this would turn out to be our fault. I can’t offer any better analysis of the story than Allah has already done at HotAir, so go check him out for details.
This is dhimmitude on a grand scale. Just submit to Iran’s wishes and we’ll all get along fine. Where is King Leonidas when we need him?