Archive for Saturday, March 31, 2007

Detained marine apologizes; Britain denounces Iran

March 31, 2007


— A captive Royal Marine was shown in new TV footage Friday apologizing for being in Iranian waters, and Tehran made public a third letter supposedly written by the only female prisoner among 15 Britons seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Britain sharply denounced Iran for the treatment of the captives - a clear sign both sides were hardening their stance as the crisis entered its second week.

Iran appeared intent on sending a message of strength as it faces mounting U.N. sanctions for its uranium enrichment program, which the U.S. and other nations suspect the Islamic Republic is using to develop nuclear weapons.

Underlining Iran's hard-line sentiment, some 60,000 soccer fans chanted "Death to Britain" at a match in Tehran, while 700 people rallying near Tehran University yelled "We condemn the British invasion!" A Muslim cleric told worshippers during Friday prayers that "Britain is an aggressor and Iran has confronted it."

In the latest video broadcast by Iranian state television, Royal Marine rifleman Nathan Thomas Summers was pictured while sitting with another male captive, both in fatigues, and female British sailor Faye Turney in a blue jumpsuit and a black head scarf.

The three were among 15 British sailors and marines detained by Iranian naval units March 23 while patrolling for smugglers near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab, a waterway that has long been a disputed dividing line between Iraq and Iran.

"We trespassed without permission," Summers said in the video shown on Iran's Arabic-language channel Al-Alam. "I deeply apologize for entering your waters."

The video, the second broadcast of the detainees in three days, drew indignation from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who accused Tehran of manipulating the prisoners.

"All it does is enhance people's sense of disgust. Captured personnel being paraded and manipulated in this way doesn't fool anyone," Blair said. "What the Iranians have to realize is that if they continue in this way, they will face increasing isolation."

It was not known whether the marine spoke under pressure from his captors, but Summers said in the broadcast that "our treatment has been very friendly."

Iran also released a third letter supposedly written by the sole female detainee in which she says she has been "sacrificed" by Britain. She said she was sorry for straying into Iranian waters and asked if it wasn't time for Britain to withdraw its troops from Iraq.

The European Union warned Iran of undefined "appropriate measures" if the British naval team remained in captivity.


bearded_gnome 11 years, 2 months ago

okay, where's all the people who had broken hearts, spilling ink and electrons by the ton over the treatment of terrorist and enemy POW's in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

these brit sailors/marines were in uniform and are certainly not being treated anything like the Geneva convention dictates! funny these groups would hit the bush admin over the head with the conventions, but are silent regarding the treatment of these legal combatants. hmmmmm?

the claim they were in Iranian waters is just silly. Blair, speaking before Parliament said they presented the coordinates to the Iranians, who had their own set of coordinates. when the brits pointed out that the Iranian coordinates would have been plainly in Iraqi water the Iranians came back with a different set of coordinates. anybody who believes the iranians on this is probably on some wacky tobaccie and just wants to believe the terrorist regime against anybody rational.

bearded_gnome 11 years, 2 months ago

still silence from the advocates of the Geneva Conventions for illegal combatants. no word from them to protest Iran's obvious and persistent violations of the Conventions with legal combatants! guess their Abu Ghraib and Gitmo claims were simple hypocrisy! bye-bye.

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