Iran president to free UK sailors

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will pardon and set free 15 British sailors and marines being held in Iranian custody.
Speaking at a news conference on the diplomatic crisis, Ahmadinejad said the 15 detainees had violated the country's territorial waters and praised the border guards who captured them, honoring three men with medals for bravery.
"I thank the border guards who bravely protect our borders and also arrested the violators, and I grant them the bravery medal to their commander," Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad was speaking after a senior Iranian official on Wednesday welcomed UK efforts to negotiate the release of the marines and sailors.
Iran's parliament speaker Gholamali Haddadadel told an Iranian state broadcaster's Web site that British efforts to negotiate the detainees' release were "appropriate."
"The British are trying to solve the issue of their arrested soldiers with negotiations and this is appropriate action," Haddadadel was quoted as saying.
But he added: "The British should agree to their mistake and change their behavior of before."
Haddadadel is considered an influential figure within Iran because of his connections with the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to whom he is related by marriage.
Meanwhile a spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed late on Tuesday that diplomatic moves had been made towards Tehran to secure the release of the 15 military personnel.
"The prime minister remains committed to resolving this by diplomatic means," the Downing Street spokeswoman said.
"The UK has proposed direct bilateral discussions and awaits an Iranian response on when these can begin."
On Tuesday Blair described the next two days as being "fairly critical" in an interview with a Scottish radio station and welcomed comments by Ali Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security, that Iran saw "no need" to put the 15 on trial.
"The most important thing is to get these people back," Blair told Glasgow-based Real Radio.
Larijani also told Iranian state TV on Tuesday that the two countries' foreign ministries had held talks about the standoff for the first time.
But Larijani told Britain's Channel 4 television that Britain must admit its military personnel intruded into Iranian territorial waters and "guarantee this violation would not be committed again."
Britain insists the sailors and marines were well inside Iraqi waters when Iran captured them on March 23.
In addition to demanding their release, Britain also wants consular access to the detainees, whose location is unknown.
Iran has released several videos showing the 14 men and one woman in which they appeared to be in good health. Iran also released videotaped confessions from four of the sailors -- including the woman, Faye Turney.
Britain said the confessions were coerced and expressed its outrage at the videos' release.
The newest images, published Tuesday by the Iranian news agency Fars, show crew members talking in a group and playing a game.
It was not immediately clear if new stills were a breach of Tehran's earlier suggestion that no more images would be published.
Sure there is a power struggle within the regime but the world is a circus too... for allowing this regime to stay alive...
Pardon me if I don't hold my breath. Ahmadumbgeniedad only has the power the mullah's grant him... meanwhile the IDF says Iran and their proxies, Hizzoebola, are prepping for war with an eye for this summer.