Iran said Monday it was interrogating 15 detained British sailors and marines detained in disputed waters to determine whether they intentionally entered its territory - an indication the country might be seeking a way out of the confrontation with Britain.
The Republican Guards, parallel, parastatal structures to the legitimate government of Iran, are not yet strong enough to force the Islamic Republic down the radical path desired. Nor is the country ready to go to war. Therefore, the diplomatic dance has begun, disentangling this hostage-taking from any other issue.
ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, told The Associated Press in a
telephone interview from Baghdad that there was no connection between
the seizures of the 15 and any other issues between the West and Iran.
He, like Mostafavi, denied any aim for a prisoner swap.
entered Iranian territorial waters and were arrested and are undergoing
the process of investigation and interrogation. It has nothing to do
with other issues,” he said....
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office sought to play down fears that the incident would deepen tensions with Iran, which threatened to charge the 15 with illegally entering its territory.
seizure of the British service personnel has deepened troubles between
Iran and the West, which is concerned about Iran’s nuclear program and
accused the country of interfering with the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
spokesman said he intended to treat the seizure as a distinct issue.
”This is a matter that should be dealt with on its own merits,” he
Now that both countries have ringfenced the seizure for the moment, Iran is capitalising on the event to show its potential power, rather than ratchet up the escalation. There is still plenty of time for the diplomatic circus to fail, and concessions now may be withdrawn later. Iran specialises in hot and cold douches.