Amadinejad has stated that he will free the kidnapped British sailors — this comes after an Iranian “diplomat” was freed in Iraq, and after assurances from Britain that they would not sail in Iranian waters.
In a dramatic announcement, Ahmadinejad said while he was “saddened” by Britain’s violation of Iran’s borders and felt the country was not “brave enough” to admit it made a mistake, he was willing to forgive.
“Under the influence of the Muslim Prophet (Iran) forgives these 15 people and gives their freedom to the British people as a gift,” Ahmadinejad said at the end of an hour-long news conference.
The announcement, made with a dramatic flourish by the Iranian president, sent oil prices down after a sharp rise during the 13-day crisis. U.S. stock futures and the dollar rose.
“I ask Mr. Blair not to punish the soldiers with the charge of accepting and telling the truth,” he said in reference to taped “confessions” from the sailors and marines saying they had entered Iranian waters.
The Iranian president said the captives — 14 men and a woman — would be released immediately after the news conference.
My read of all this: Britain has caved. By their promise not to enter Iranian waters, they have acknowledged that the disputed area is Iranian. The only method left to re-establish the boundary now is for US Ships and sailors to patrol the waterway in tandem with Iraqi ships in “show the flag” excercises. Thank you very much Mr. Blair.
Update from The Daily Mail, The sailors will fly home tomorrow:
The 15 British sailors held captive in Iran will fly home on Thursday after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad agreed to free them as a ‘gift’ to Britain.
Ed has more over at Captain’s Quarters, and if you scroll down you can see that the first mate is home again miraculously early.