Iranians offer video to counter Britons’ charges

? State-controlled Iranian television on Monday broadcast footage of recently detained British sailors and marines playing pingpong and watching soccer, an attempt to counter charges that they were mistreated during 13 days in captivity.

Iran sparked an international political crisis with its March 23 detention of the 15 Britons who were on patrol in disputed Persian Gulf waters near the Shatt al Arab waterway. The captives were freed last week and later said they were blindfolded, taunted and feared for their lives during their detention.

The footage broadcast Monday by Iran showed the sailors and marines relaxing in tracksuits and laughing. It is the latest jab in an ongoing propaganda war between Britain and Iran.

“These pictures show the relaxation and freedom they enjoyed during their detention period,” said the newsreader for Al Alam, Iran’s state-owned Arabic-language channel, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.

“This contradicts what they said when they arrived home in Britain,” the newscaster added. “Tehran opened its arms and offered hospitality to the 15 British sailors.”