Return of British Service Members Prompts Questions About Deals with Iran

Other News Materials 6 April 2007 11:46 (UTC +04:00)

( Lat ) - The 15 British marines and sailors held captive by Iran for nearly two weeks returned home on Thursday amid increasing calls for an investigation of the affair and confusion about whether their sudden release was part of a deal.

Iran's official news agency, IRNA, said the head of parliament's national security and foreign policy commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, ``reiterated that all arrested British naval marines as well as the British government had confessed to having violated Iran's territorial waters.''

The British denied that the crew had crossed into Iranian waters or that any apologies had been given. Speaking to reporters outside his Downing Street office, Prime Minister Tony Blair said his government had made no deals or promises to win the release of the service members, who were immediately whisked by helicopter from London's Heathrow Airport to a military base in southwest Britain for reunions with their families and security debriefings.

``I think what has actually happened is that we have managed to secure the release of our personnel more quickly than many people anticipated, and have done so--and I want to make this very, very clear--without any deal, without any negotiations, without any side agreement of any nature whatever,'' Blair said.