President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would free the 15 detained British sailors and marines Wednesday as an Easter holiday ''gift'' to the British people.
He said the captives, who were seized while on patrol in the northern Persian Gulf on March 23, would be taken to the airport at the end of the news conference that he was addressing. An Iranian official in London said they would be handed over to British diplomats in Tehran.
The release of the crew members would end a 13-day standoff between London and Tehran that was sparked when the crew was seized as it searched for smugglers off the Iraqi coast. Britain denied Iranian claims the crew had entered Iranian waters.
I gotta hand it to the British and Iranian diplomats who figured out how to defuse this issue, this situation looked pretty thorny to me, anyway, and I think the solution looks pretty good for everyone. Iran releases the hostages but gets to look strong and magnanimous, British thanks them without having to "apologize" and goes on its merry way, no harm no foul (that is, assuming the prisoners were treated well, and indications are they were).
Does anyone else find it more than a little sad that we had to rely on Iran's respect for the Geneva Conventions and willingness to compromise, and the US and UK not f**king this up with their obtuseness and belligerence?