The Scotsman outlines some of the behind-the-scenes action as the British government tries to gain the release of the sailors:
Â After a day of shadow-boxing with a notoriously slippery regime, Tony Blair is set to up the ante: the plight of the Shatt al-Arab 15 is officially a crisis and he will need the Cobra team to handle it.
The clutch of VIPs will gather in an operations room several floors below Downing Street as early as this afternoon to plot an escape from a military spat that now threatens to become an international incident.
The decision came just 24 hours after the crew of HMS Cornwall had been caught in the confusion of direct confrontation with Iranian vessels in the searing heat of the Gulf.
As the crew members were surrounded in their two rubber dinghies, the Cornwall’s commander, Commodore Nick Lambert, frantically radioed back to his own top brass for instructions.
The response to the inquiry, which had been immediately patched through to Ministry of Defence headquarters in Whitehall, was to hold fire.
UPDATE: Please stop by Gateway Pundit for latest analysis on the location of the sailorsÂ
I would wager that they will not withhold fire the next time this occurs, as it is strike two for these scenarios against the Brits.
Meanwhile Iran says the sailors have `confessed,’ from IRNA, state run press in Iran:
Deputy Commander in Chief of Armed Forces General Staff by confirming arrest of 15 British sailors by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval forces in Iran’s territorial waters on Friday March 23, 2007, said the sailors were under interrogation and have confessed violating Iranian territorial waters.
According to Armed Forces Media Department report on Saturday, General Ali-Reza Afshar said,” the arrest shows our forces’ readiness to defend the country at all times.”
Deputy in Cultural Affairs and Defence Advertisement said repeated threats of enemies have caused promotion and growth of country’s defence abilities adding the US and its allies know if they make a mistake in their calculations over the issue of invasion of Iran, they would not be able to control the dimensions of that miscalculation.
He pointed out the US was hopeful to end imposed war against Iran (by Iraq) in six days, but it took 8 years and Iraq was finally defeated too.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini had already condemned illegal entrance of British forces into Iran’s territorial waters and called it a suspicious act and against international law and regulations.
15 British sailors were arrested on Friday morning by Iran’s naval force in Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
They were arrested in Arvandroud area in the northern coast of the Persian Gulf.
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