For folks spoiling for a fight with Iran, this may be disappointing (from Reuters):
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday he would free 15 British sailors and marines as a “gift” to Britain.
The president scolded Britain for not being “brave enough” to admit they had made a mistake and strayed into Iranian waters.
In a surprise announcement at the end of a lengthy news conference, Ahmadinejad said he was willing to make a “gift” to Britain, but he also awarded medals to the naval commanders who captured the 15 in the northern Gulf on March 23.
Obviously, this is wonderful news — although I can’t help wondering what the backstory is, and whether it’s related to the five Iranian detainees held by the U.S. Whatever was (or was not) conceded and agreed, though, you can bet we’ll be hearing nothing but propaganda about it from both sides.
Meanwhile (assuming Iran follows through), there’ll be a collective sigh of relief as everyone steps back from the brink.
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Update: CNN’s coverage has a slightly different version of Ahmadinejad’s statement — most notably in the absence of the word “gift”.
Ed Morrissey is also pondering the backstory.
One wonders just how different a course history would have taken if the US and other governments had reacted to the Barbary pirates in the manner that the Blair government just did…