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Captive images

Kevin Bakhurst Kevin Bakhurst | 18:15 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The pictures shown by Iranian television of the British sailors and Marines have obviously raised a number of issues for us.

BBC News 24 logoWe had discussed the way we would handle such a situation a couple of days previously and decided we wouldn't show the pictures without trying to give the families of those held as much notice as we could. We also wouldn't show them if the British captives looked to be in undue distress or injured. The pictures would inevitably become a major part of the story and be shown around the world.

Today we actually had a few hours notice that the pictures were likely to appear as they were trailed by the TV station involved. When we found this out, firstly, we spoke to the Ministry of Defence to ask them to inform the families that this was likely to happen. We also explained the circumstances in which we would use them - and those in which we wouldn't. We liaised with Sky News, who agreed with our thinking.

captured British female sailor Faye Turney When the pictures came in, we watched them all and although the British personnel looked strained and were almost certainly acting under duress, they looked in good health and said they had been treated well. The Ministry of Defence said that it hoped that this would be some comfort to the families and Naval colleagues at the moment - a sentiment we share.


  • 1.
  • At 07:27 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • David wrote:

I think you handled this well given the account you just offered. I think it's important to see that, for all of Iran's posturing about international borders and legality etc., what this REALLY amounts to is the sort of hostage-taking routinely undertaken by terrorists. This ridiculous PR stunt is straight out of the Terrorism 101 text book's chapter on hostage taking.

Nice to see, incidentally, than on sensitive matters like this the BBC and Sky are prepared to work to together to give due respect and protection to the vulnerable. Well done guys.

  • 2.
  • At 07:29 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Richard White wrote:

It's pretty obvious neither side wants to revert to extreme measures. All levels of diplomacy must be explored and exhausted before we go the full length. However, if it's necessary to use extreme measures then Tony Blair must be strong and the rest of the British Government, including all parties, must be willing to support him 110% as should be the people of this country, regardless of their politics. Kidnapping, because that is exactly what it is, foreign soldiers is unacceptable, whether they are treated humanley or not - They have been taken against their will, and therefore penalaties at all levels must be payed. Strike now Tony whilst the iron is hot and show the world that the British Government, cannot be held to ransome.

  • 3.
  • At 07:34 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Alireza Masoom wrote:

I think this is a simple issue and it amy happen through the rest of world.
Let wait and see what will happen.
However, they Tresspased iranian Water Territory.
Finaly jusice will go on.

  • 4.
  • At 07:41 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Robert LaVacca wrote:

I have always wondered what kind of persuasion is used by captors to make their prisoners say the things they do. I remember during the first Gulf War when captured Coalition pilots were shown on television saying negative things about their countries and the "aggression" against the Iraqi people.

Are these British sailors being threatened?

  • 5.
  • At 07:45 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • barry runacres wrote:

It is a pity that the Iranians decide to use the most vunerable of those siezed to futher their case.This is an indication of the type of people who are running Iran

  • 6.
  • At 07:56 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • James wrote:

Quandary : alert the public as to the plight of our servicemen and women held captive in Iran whilst almost certainly causing the captives' families emotional distress?

Or block the broadcast and keep the public in the dark?

As I said, an extremely difficult decision. I personally would have preferred to read a summary of the newsitem without the sensationalist images being made public.

  • 7.
  • At 08:07 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Amir wrote:

I am an Iranian, we have seen Mullahs doing this every day to our people, Now they are expanding their crimes on other people, Will UK Government continue to keep company with mullahs like past 28 years? When we believe that Force and only force is the language they understand?

If a clear demonstration was needed, between the utter difference of mindsets, the value & message of communication exercises between radical inward looking forces within Iran & the outward maturity of stable progressive societies, this case highlights such.

Pandering to a radical domestic audience, completely undermines Iran's credibility on the international stage. Either they are not aware of this or are aware & dismiss the negative reporting as being negligible to their overall strategy.

Would argue, the radical elements within Iran are willing to take on the UK & abuse/push the envelope, because of the UK tradition of abiding by law & convention. Feel sure the Iranians would have not tried this with the USA because they would be both at war by now.

But the Iranian regime have badly misjudged this situation & are found not fit for purpose. In a double whammy, they have alienated the 'doves' willing to lend them leeway/support (esp in nuclear argument) & have provided the 'proof' the 'hawks' were looking for.

The inherently unstable & immature nation state of Iran …. by action of repeated hostage & kidnap … has provided the 'smoking gun' by which they will be both condemned & contained.

Iran 'outed' itself.


  • 9.
  • At 08:13 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • C Smith wrote:

I am becoming increasingly annoyed at the portrayal of the sailors and marines on the BBC News. The way the situation is reported is that there is Faye Turney. Oh yes, and 14 other men.

First of all, this is insulting to the families of the men, who were doing the same job as Faye, but they happen to be male and therefore don't deserve the same coverage as she does.

Secondly, these men leave their spouses and children too, but the BBC choses not to cover any of them even though on tonight's (Wednesday) 6.00pm news the reporter stated that the other captured marines and sailors were also interviewed, but we haven't seen one frame of those interviews, although if we did I strongly suspect that no mention would be made of the children and spouses they leave behind because they are not mothers, only fathers.

I would much prefer the BBC not to report on the fact that one of the captured is a woman crew member but rather that she was a member of the crew who happens to be a woman. The BBC has disappointed me in this regard and I thought we had got past this sort of biased reporting that still seems to find women in war zones astonishing.

I wonder if such thoughtfulness and concern is given when showing pictures of tons of Iraqi, Afghani, etc captives that are held by the Allies in Afghanisatn, Iraq, Guantanamo, etc...

  • 11.
  • At 08:38 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • commenter wrote:

One thing that shouldn't be forgotten here is that we are not at war with Iran, and there has not been a single overt act of agression, if you don't count the arrest.

  • 12.
  • At 08:39 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Mien Van Hoang wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam
Should Iranian explain and provide with scientific data to say how they intercepted British personels on Saturday and also why they had to change their claim on Tuesday when British pointed out to them that their first claim was within Iraq water. It is the heart of the matter.
Until they can do that, everything else would be meaningless.

  • 13.
  • At 08:41 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • siva wrote:

Hope this ends soon without escalating further.

  • 14.
  • At 08:47 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Itayabla wrote:

I see many people getting setimental and quite frankly selfish about this hwole. Ultimately, if the British boat trespassed Iranian waters knowingly then no one has a right to accuse Iran of doing wrong. We would have done the same thing. Besides, we do worse.

  • 15.
  • At 08:49 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Carlos Graterol wrote:

Terrorists who are prisoners are not soldiers from countries. They are never paraded in front of national tv and forced to apologize either. And if such instances occur the people always regret what happened and investigations are pursued. My heart goes out to the families of all the British sailors and marines. I'm happy to say as an American we support the British in whatever action they find necessary.

  • 16.
  • At 08:51 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Mike Lovette wrote:

I agree with Malangbaba. I feel sad with the situation but why the bias by the british and americans when it comes to iraqi/ afgani ppl. no one seems to care. And now making a mountain out of a mole hill. why the double standards?

  • 17.
  • At 08:52 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Carlos wrote:

They didn't enter Iranian waters what more proof do you need Itayabla. And how do we do worse?

  • 18.
  • At 08:56 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Erik Stypulkoski wrote:

The GPS coordinates will prove one side right and the other side wrong, unequivocally. If the Brits were wrong (which I doubt), fine. If the Iranians are the ones who are wrong, it will simply underscore how morally bankrupt their government is. Plus, the head scarf thing is just silly.

  • 19.
  • At 09:03 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Albert wrote:

It is interesting people accepting the propaganda spewed by the British government in this case. People forget too quickly the lack of credibility of Mr. Blair's government. Everything they say should be taken with a huge grain of salt. There is no reason for Iran to ignite a confrontation by capturing soldiers in Iraqi waters. They were in Iranian waters as they have been in the past and were arrested. No harm has been done to them. Now we can't say the same for those Iranian diplomats kidnapped in Iraq.

  • 20.
  • At 09:04 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • misha wrote:

This clearly shows that Iran is a country that seeks trouble and they simply do not have the guts to do that to America.
I think that Britain should do absolutely everything it can to get its people back....starting with diplomacy and if thats not gonna work then only one option remains: an ultimatum saying that either they release the soldiers or Britain will respond with a nuclear strike against a military target. one per day for every extra day they hold the sailors hostage. the burst has to be aerial so there will be no fallout and thus no civilian casualties.

  • 21.
  • At 09:06 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

The Iranians released information showing the captured patrol's position to be inside Iraqi waters and then released a second report showing the patrol to be in Iranian waters.....How interesting

I personally think if you are going to take hostages based on false information you created, you might at least want cook up false information which helps your case the first time around.

  • 22.
  • At 09:07 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Steven Martin wrote:

"...almost certainly acting under duress"

You don't really know the situation at all. They would probably agree to being on TV even if asked nicely. Being captured can have odd psychological effects. When a terror suspect in the US is paraded on TV and confesses, do you also say that they were"...almost certainly acting under duress"?

What I would really like to know is why the BBC is consistently ignoring the most important thing that Brigadier-General Hakim Jassim (commander of Iraq's territorial waters) told Associated Press. He said...

"We were informed by Iraqi fishermen after they had returned from sea that there were British gunboats in an area that is out of Iraqi control."

You've had many reports with various experts saying how GPS is so accurate etc, yet you keep ignoring Jassim's very important statement. It doesn't matter how accurate GPS equipment is, it is a question of who is lying, and frankly the British Government has a poor record with lying of late, so I would expect the BBC to treat official statements with more suspicion.

Why did the west not react with such anger when the Iranian diplomats were seized by US forces. They had actually been invited by Talabani. Got knows what's been happening to them.

  • 23.
  • At 09:08 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

"Ultimately, if the British boat trespassed Iranian waters knowingly then no one has a right to accuse Iran of doing wrong. We would have done the same thing. Besides, we do worse." - Itayabla

Ultimately, it seems we have evidence it was NOT trespass. And no, I seriously doubt the UK would parade hostages on television - and if they did there would be uproar. Iran is acting immaturely and I hope after we've sweet talked to get our people back there will be some more outward action or sanctions against Iran's government.

Although of all this what irks me the most is that head cloth they have her wearing.

  • 24.
  • At 09:09 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Nenkai wrote:

It looks like a simple case of accidental trespassing that was handled according to expected procedures. Even the sailor said they were trespassing, have been treated well, and will soon be released. It makes simple sense, and of all the problematic relations the UK and Iran my have, this should not be relevant.

  • 25.
  • At 09:09 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

I'm pretty sure that Leading Seaman Turney didn't choose to wear a veil/scarf of her own volition.

In western culture women are not second grade citizens and may be seen uncovered - even (gosh) on TV. Enforcing religious edits on prisoners is degrading. What next, forced conversions?

  • 26.
  • At 09:10 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Marcus wrote:

I believe as the Navy Personnel had trepassed Iranian territory, it is correct for Iranians to capture them. Same or worse will be done to Iranians if they were in Iraqi waters.

The best solution is to apologise Iran and negotiate the release of the servicemen and women.

The story of British are the good guys and Iranians are bad guys is childish and premature.

  • 27.
  • At 09:14 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Mark Casali wrote:

The nonsense over this episode continues. There is no point arguing over which side is right - the border outside the Sh.Al Arab waterway is in dispute and NOT clearly defined. The Iranians are having a laugh at the UKs expense. So what? We all know the soldiers will be released in a few weeks unharmed. Compared to the real tragedy facing the Iraqi people caused by the invasion and ancient hatreds, this is all a sideshow.

  • 28.
  • At 09:14 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • NYC_GUY wrote:

The released video of the soldiers and the letter is totally unacceptable and against international law - even if they did violate Iranian waters (which it appears they did not !). I agree with BBC's showing and how it was handled.

Blair, the UK and it's allies must be strong and unified so as not to let this turn into a "Jimmy Carter nightmare".

I think it's best if the Americans stand by the UK's side but keep a low profile - we do not need more bloodshed.

I am also surprised on how little coverage this has on UK's websites - it's all over American sites (and given the top spot).

How can the BBC put Italy vs Scotland above 15 "terrorist captured" servicemen and woman ????

Please get them returned safely to their families (and without war).

The Iranian people are good people - it's just their government. They probably feel the same about the US/UK too.

  • 29.
  • At 09:18 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • MJ wrote:

I agree with your decission of broadcasting these images because the people concerned were treated well and the images caused no offence.
Again, it is nice to see that news companies like BBC and Sky can work together in matters like this

  • 30.
  • At 09:21 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Alexander wrote:

I just hope this crisis can be resolved soon for all concerned.I hope lessons can be learnt and in future these patrol craft used by the RN are more heavily armed . It is a real crime that the British Royal Navy and armed forces are run on the bare minimum these days.
As a former Merchant Navy Master I have been very concerned that the British Merchant Fleet is now virtually extinct and with the proposed cutbacks the RN looks like it'll end up the same way....not ideal for an island nation that relys on the sea transport for most of its needs.

  • 31.
  • At 09:23 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Martin Henley wrote:

A difficult one. Hopefully the parents were contacted before they saw the images. If the British evidence on the positioning of the boat is correct, and technology appears to show that it is, and the United Nations accept this, it is a United Nations matter, because the British forces were executing a UN mandate. And they would appear to have confessed under coercion.

Why though does it have to be Britain that is patrolling Iraq's waters? Why do not other European countries participate more, or at least contribute a fair share of the cost? Will Germany for example (who is Iran's major trading partner in Europe) fully co-operate with Blair by agreeing to proactively and wholeheartedly participate in sanctions aginst Iran? Why does it always have to be Britain that carries the burden? OK, we can understand why European countries that opposed the coalitio'sn invasion of Iraq will not be involved inside Iraq, but patrolling the coast is a UN operation. I would like the BBC (and Sky) to be investigating this aspect.

  • 32.
  • At 09:23 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Kamran wrote:

I believe , this is an message to
American people and Whole world and
all ountries which obey the International laws ....
these guys are sending you
"If U can broke (law)... we can do the same ..."

if u r able to capture Iranian deplomats without no justification
and proof ... well we r capable of doing the same thing ...

this means alot ...

  • 33.
  • At 09:24 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Jim G wrote:

If we indisputably can prove that the sailors were not in Iranian waters, then this is a blatant act of kidnap.

We train and pay our soldiers well. I suggest Iran is told in no uncertain terms that they will be returned to the dark ages and the president "removed" by the SAS unless all are released.

It is time to stop being messed about by these nations

  • 34.
  • At 09:26 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Mathew Taylor wrote:

I think this act of portraying the British personnel on Iranian television is yet another of Iran's infamous games. Who are they trying to fool? Do they really think that the rest of the world is going to believe that they are so hospitable with foreign prisoners? I don't see what they are trying to gain from this, when they are already in deep water. I hope that the British servicemen will be safely returned although I wouldn't bet that the outcome will be so simple. Furthermore, I don't expect the UK government to be bullied for much longer. You might get away with teasing a cobra at first, but eventually it's gonna bite you.

  • 35.
  • At 09:28 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Jim G wrote:

If we indisputably can prove that the sailors were not in Iranian waters, then this is a blatant act of kidnap.

We train and pay our soldiers well. I suggest Iran is told in no uncertain terms that they will be returned to the dark ages and the president "removed" by the SAS unless all are released.

It is time to stop being messed about by these nations

  • 36.
  • At 09:28 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • harold wrote:

Thank god for Faye Turney's veil. It would be bloody terrible of course if the world would see her hair. Kidnapping - fine, but hair - no way. Iran is one big set of 'Life of Brian'. Blessed are the cheesemakers...

  • 37.
  • At 09:30 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • cindy wall wrote:

I think you did right Kevin and the BBC. I think the families of the sailors appreciate the respect you are giving this situation. I worked with Royal Navy years ago in Edzell, Scotland! The sailors do not deserve to be paraded around like that. I also think we should remember that the sailors are not free to say what they want, and must read from the scripts placed before them by the Iranian nothing but terriosts.
I think the idiot posters to this site "malangbaba and Ailireza Masoom have no brain between them - and are parroting back what they must hear in their families.

The excellently trained Royal Navy and Marines know where they were and the Iranian Navy is lying! Iran's hostile action and mine laying in the Persuian Guld is disgusting - and should be stopped by the International Community!

  • 38.
  • At 09:32 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

* 5.
* At 07:45 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
* barry runacres wrote:

*It is a pity that the Iranians decide *to use the most vunerable of those *siezed to futher their case.This is an *indication of the type of people who *are running Iran

Why the most vulnerable..?

  • 39.
  • At 09:35 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • James Collins wrote:

Well said no #9, I agree.

  • 40.
  • At 09:36 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Peter Lindley wrote:

This is just the latest example of the what the West is dealing with when it comes to Iran. The Iranians lost all legitimacy when their initial coordinates were found to be in Iraqi waters. Who does this surprise? This is right out of the terrorist's handbook. Their president was even a main player in the abduction of US staff in 1979. My heart goes out to the British prisoners. If this does not, once and for all, solidify the fact that the Iranian government cannot be negotiated with like a rationally functioning government, I don't know what will.

  • 41.
  • At 09:36 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Jabaki wrote:

and these imbeciles want the bomb? Help us all.

  • 42.
  • At 09:40 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Ganesh wrote:

Well its good that BBC and Sky have handled the situation well .Whats right and good is that they are safe is what visible to me . Just get them back home .

  • 43.
  • At 09:43 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Ed Manning wrote:

We live in a world that finds facts inconvenient when they conflict with our beliefs.

The BBC should focus on informing opinion, if I want to know what people think I can ask them.

For instance is the GPS evidence reliable? I think it probably is, but I think it is an important fact. Are there any international laws that cover this? Are we covered by any international conventions? What are the implications of using the dirty word, appeasement?

Meanwhile while we have a focus on British reaction, totally unscientific and unmeasurable, we have little gauging of Iranian opinion. Do they think that their government is lying? I know that is a really hard question to answer.

I personally believe that this indicates just how weak the Iranians feel, that they need to do something like this. We have humiliated them and they want to prove therefore that they are still able to embarrass us. The Muslim angle is also interesting, why is such a religious state lying. Now that is a difficult question to ask? Islamaphobia? No, just hard news.

  • 44.
  • At 09:44 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Bill wrote:

Give the Iranians an ultimatum: return our forces' members or face the consequences: the expulsion of their representatives from London.

  • 45.
  • At 09:47 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Maziar wrote:

"The headscarf thing" isn't silly. It's what all women have to wear in Iran, like it or hate it.

"Morally bankrupt government" ... please! With Blair still running the UK, spare me the righteous garbage!

Raiding Iranian consulates in Iraq is perfectly okay. Running up and down a war-torn country under false pretences is also ok. But arresting people allegedly in sovereign waters won't do?

  • 46.
  • At 09:50 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Howard Dolphino wrote:

I hope that whatever method we use to get our hostages back can be duplicated to release our other British hostages from Guantanamo.

  • 47.
  • At 09:50 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Justsin Barrett wrote:

I am positive that everything the British Sailor said was scripted by her captors; or at least filtered to give the impressions desired by Iran. I have personally been through this type of resistance training and this is not uncommon. I would like them to prove, with evidence, that there was an intrusion into their waters. I dont believe this will be possible. POW - MIA, You will Not be Forgotten.

  • 48.
  • At 09:51 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • David Caldwell wrote:

Iranians have nothing to gain by further detention of this British military patrol unit. World opinion is unanimously opposed to this brazen kidnapping.

In fact, Iran's standing in the world is deteriorating with every affront, the latest being their shameful propaganda video undoubtedly produced at gun point.

Britain surely will not waver in doing whatever is necessary to obtain full and immediate release of the captives. We in the USA have suffered in similar circumstances and can relate to the current dilemma.

Americans support Britain in this case wholeheartedly and stand ready to help in any way we can. Iran must take seriously the potentially severe consequences of continuing this terrible mistake. Any further use of the detainees in propaganda would be a foolish miscalculation.

  • 49.
  • At 09:52 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Uri Ilivich wrote:

The British government should use diplomatic means to get the sailors back but if it fails should use the maximum force the UK has available. Iran is constantly baiting the UN security council maybe we should see what happens when they break UN resolutions and cause acts of aggression against the countries that already have nuclear capabilities.

  • 50.
  • At 10:00 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Karimi Ahmad Reza wrote:

Why should they entered Iranian waters so this unwilling happened for both countries?

Suppose a vessel had not heard the information of a embargo against Iran and drifted into Iranian waters and Iran susp[iciously decides to seize the vessel and its contents regardless of the embargo against Iran. This then becomes a United Nations affair that clearly exercises the rights against Iran as being the honored and respectable nation responsible for patrolling and administering affairs regarding shipping in the waters regardless if Iran scrambled messages to prevent a vessel from obtaining the embargo information or not and violates the United Nations authority of controlling vessels at sea of which the United States is of no indifference. I see very little difference in patrolling to eliminate terrorists and the effort Iran supports in eliminating terrorists in their mainland as both are significant anti-terrorist agendas that Britain needs to boast how many they have apprehended and compsare that to how many Iran claims to have apprehended and see just who is doing the better job so then the United Nations might judge on a Britain Naval matter involving 15 sailors of the HMS Cornwall whom is responsible for ther sailors well being not any terrorist organization or Iran. Iran has no authority to declare any British sailors or any other nations sailors as terrorists or demand that a vessel stays clear of Iranian waters if the United Nations has not given special rights to Iran to do so militarily.

  • 52.
  • At 10:21 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Tony Grove wrote:

I think it is disgusting that the UK government is putting up with this blatent disrespect to the british and their military. The americans would never have let it gone this far and would have allready gone into iran and retrieved the kidnapped soldiers by force. Not saying that is correct action to take at this point, but the UK is appearing very weak here.

  • 53.
  • At 10:26 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Oslouk wrote:

The Iranians are clearly trying to position themselves and attempting to create some sort of moral victory over one of the chief opponents of their uranium enrichment. The use of the female crew member with an obviously dictated statement is morally bankrupt and transparent and will only harden western attitudes. They are using tactics which were practised by the Viet Cong on American prisoners of war in getting them to 'admit their guilt'. The Foreign Office and the PM should continue to take a tough line with a regime that is bent on provocation.

  • 54.
  • At 10:26 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Bryan wrote:

To answer the question posed by Malangbaba, yes there is concern when seeing these pictures as well. However, there is a huge difference between pictures of captured Iraqi, Afghan, etc and this. The main item is that the Allied coalition has declared war on those people and Iran has not declared war on Britian. Also, I would like to point out, that if the governments of the coalition had it their way, no pictures would come out about the Iraqi and Afgani prisoners, but the Iranian government is the one putting out the pictures of the Brits. As a side note, this was obviously planned out as this is not the first inspection that the Brits have done and the Irainian boats didn't surround them until after the Britian chopper left the area.

Oh, one last thing, if these were American men, you would see a different attitude from our government. It's amazing that with all of the american troops in the area, and with the Americans snagging a few of the Revolutionary Guards, that the Brits would be the target. Does anyone think that it may be because America does not deal with terrorists, under any cirrcumstances and this would be a war with only one way to stop it. Hey, we saw the Italian government persuade Afgan to do a prisoner swap, maybe England is next.

Be strong Britian, any arm of the coalition involves the entire coalition.

  • 55.
  • At 10:30 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

If they release one person it will be typical of hostage takers rather than a country who has discovered invaders at its norders

  • 56.
  • At 10:35 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Tommy Brown wrote:

To those who bring up Iraq & Afghanistan talk about double standards - I suggest you look up the definition of "comparitive trivialisation" as it's very much your way of thinking.

It's very plain than Iran is now, and has been for many years, a criminal state that cares for nothing but what cliques of mullahs and Republican Guards want personally.

  • 57.
  • At 10:35 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • KOAS wrote:

I happened to be watching News 24 when the story broke and was a bit confused at first as to why the pictures couldn't be shown because, as the newsreader said, you didn't know what you were getting in for. Thanks for explaining that.

But I think the Ten O'Clock News report about this story failed to mention an interesting point made by a phone interview on News 24, which said that the borders were being judged by the British. Not sure how accurate it was, but it is a different perspective on the problem.

  • 58.
  • At 10:45 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Douglas K. wrote:

Kidnapping has been the main tactics used both by hezbollah and hamas against Israel. What a coincidence !

  • 59.
  • At 10:53 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Dr. Roger Ingram wrote:

These men and women from the UK who are captives in this incident, which did not violate Iran's waters, are serving to create peace in the world
They are in my thoughts and prayers, along with so many of us in the world.
I served as a professor, teaching college classes, on US AirCraft Carriers in the middle east and know that the military life is not pleasant, is dangerous, and that the young people yearn to be home.
That is my prayer for the captives and for their families.

  • 60.
  • At 11:06 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Hu Jin Tao wrote:

I think, what Iran is doing is obvious, given that main British ally US already have a plan and a budget (search for the news a few months ago) to do clandestine operation in Iran land and sea. So, what Iran doing now is merely just a self defense operation in Iranian's point of view. The different is, US and British has media companies to promote their view and paint it nicely.

  • 61.
  • At 11:07 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • ian mansell wrote:

These people are british and therefore demand our notice.
We live in a small country and with the influx of multi national influences are we condoning what Iran has done!

Whatever has transpired no decent and normal country would take captive another countries personnel on some whim.

Get a grip these people are despots and will stop at nothing to gain the upper hand.

I couldn't give a monkeys toss for blairs government but these are our service personnel doing their job.

They are NOT political pawns!

  • 62.
  • At 11:19 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Jimbo wrote:

This is a set up, anyone can see that.
We were looking for an excuse to go war with Iran and this is it.

Is it a coincidence that the BBC just happened to be on that ship interviewing the female marine just before she was sent out to Iranian waters ? This is just propaganda by the people taking us to another illegal war and the BBC obviously are playing a part in this.

It's all about oil.
Remember the Axis of Evil ? Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, they all refused to deal in the U.S. dollar (they now use the Euro as their currency) when buying and selling oil which means that America's economy suffers massively. That's what this is all about. Venezuela is next on America's hit list because they have discovered vast oil fields there.

I feel sorry for those marines. Let's hope they are not just being used as pawns. My thoughts are with them and their families.

  • 63.
  • At 11:23 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • David wrote:

Tony Blair has described this action by Iran as 'completely wrong, unacceptable and illegal' which, coincidentally, perfectly sums up the war that him and his partner in crime, Bush, started in Iraq. That has so far led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children most of whom were no more than innocent bystanders, it is no wonder that the UK and US are becoming hated all over the world. What Iran has done is nothing more than a slightly provocative act of 'awareness raising' for want of a better term. Of course I understand the anguish the servicemen's families must be going through but no has died because of this. Lets hope that the Blair/Bush double-act don't seize this as an opportunity to start another stupid war (which is what they appear to be itching to do) and get another quarter of a million souls slaughtered. Cynics out there might suggest that they engineered this situation in order to provide them with an excuse to go to war, but that kind of thing is the stuff of conspiracy theories and obviously wouldn't really happen in such a democratic, honest and open society as ours, would it?

  • 64.
  • At 11:24 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

Ehat gets me is the number of middle east sounding names defending Iran as if it is a child being bullied in a playground who is finally getting their own back. Stop being so naiive and start looking at the cold facts and the issue that is in question here. It is not Iraq it is this terrorist act that is the focal point for this blog.

  • 65.
  • At 11:27 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • kayvon wrote:

the reason that she was wearing a head scarf is not because they wanted her to convert. It is because that is the law of the land.
Regardless of whether the soldiers were in or out of the territorial water, once they are in the country they need to follow the country's rules and customs. Iranian christians and Jews do the same thing. the truth of the matter is, the TV station would not have shown her is she didn't wear a head scarf.
whether we agree with the law, that is a different story, and frankly irrelevant.

  • 66.
  • At 11:40 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • busyfruitbat wrote:

Expelling Iranian diplomatic staff should be the next move, and urging UN Security Council member, China, (these were service personnel acting under a UN mandate) to place an embargo on Iranian oil exports. The bottom line is usually more effective than the thin red one.

Oh, and # 45

"The headscarf thing" isn't silly. It's what all women have to wear in Iran, like it or hate it.

Yup, and you know what, teachers in the UK don't wear veils - like it or hate it. Hope that you are as vigorous in your support of the local authorities on this one.

  • 67.
  • At 11:42 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • EinsiJo wrote:

Know what I think? Either the Britts or the Iranians got lost and accidentally crossed the border, and the Iranian patrol, just thinking they're doing their jobs, see no alternative but to seize the boat. Now Teheran is stuck with fifteen british sailors which may or may not be accidental kidnapping victims and which they have no idea what to do with, so to save face they claim that the sailors were tresspassing and hope they were right (or that noone can prove them wrong) so that they don't have to admit an embarassing mistake when the eyes on the world is allready on them.
I have the deepest sympathy for the sailor's families and hope they make it back safe and sound, but I don't think we should start WWIII over something that in all probablility is just a very inconvenient mix-up. I really doupt the patrol guys were under orders to "go and kidnap some Britons."

  • 68.
  • At 11:51 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Alan Jupin wrote:

It is good to know they are in good health. One should wish the 20 million iraqis taken hostage by Bush and Blair see better days as well. And go ahead BBC throw away this post as usual.

  • 69.
  • At 11:53 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Neil McDonald wrote:

When Marines were siezed before by Iran they were in Iraqi waters, again the Iranian govenment appear to act in violation of a UN Mandate because they feel they need to show their strength to either the world community or to their own people. I am disgusted by the images seen on the news. It may offer some short term hope to their loved ones but in the long term it only raises more questions about their treatment.

  • 70.
  • At 11:55 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Joan wrote:

"Maziar wrote:
"The headscarf thing" isn't silly. It's what all women have to wear in Iran, like it or hate it."

Of course, it's silly. It is especially silly to force a hostage who did not enter the country by choice to wear it.

  • 71.
  • At 12:06 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Dave Milne wrote:

Well done, Iran - thanks for providing just the excuse the hawks need to try out a few more interesting weapons. I'm sure they couldn't have planned a better propaganda victory if they had tried, and you really handed them one on a plate.

  • 72.
  • At 12:18 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • nick wrote:

We should persevere to strongly, yet calmy ask for the release of our service people.

All the rest remains ambiguous. At this point.

  • 73.
  • At 12:23 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Richard Mason wrote:

It seems to me that Iran is trying to annoy the international community. Kidnapping British sailors is one thing but to illegally enter Iraqi waters to kidnap them makes it even worse.

Iran is like a little child poking a big dog with a stick it is only a matter of time the dog will bite. Capturing British soldiers is a disgusting act .

One thing that concerns me is the patrols are apparently accompanied by Lynx Mk9 helicopters why did the crew not act to prevent this from happening.

I have always been opposed to plans to attack Iran but this changes things if the Sailors and Marines are hurt or mistreated in anyway I would not be opposed to retaliation against Iran in military and economic terms.

  • 74.
  • At 12:31 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Dave Dooley wrote:

This footage was intended to go worldwide. We live in the IT age. If this was one of my children, I would prefer to see it responsibly broadcast - alongside alongside informed analytical comment - than watch it on YouTube or such. In my opinion the BBC demonstrated sound judement.

  • 75.
  • At 12:37 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • TOM wrote:

Was it right to broadcast the pictures of British Personnel captured by the Iranians?

Well was it right to broadcast pictures of Saddam Hussain getting hanged? his dead body and the bodies of his sons?

Yes it was! This is what news reporting is about. If its Ok to Lampoon an entire faith by poking fun at their religion by the use of cartoons then why can't the British marines be paraded on TV.

We're always being told that reporting has no boundaries, but only if it's in our own interest. It takes one to know one, evil breeds evil. This is wholly deserved.

Ref malangbaba #10

"I wonder if such thoughtfulness and concern is given when showing pictures of tons of Iraqi, Afghani, etc captives that are held by the Allies in Afghanisatn, Iraq, Guantanamo, etc…"

That would because these 15 professional members of Britain's armed forces, Sailors from the Royal Navy & Royal Marines, are acting openly & legitimately, under UN mandate & permission of an internationally recognised democratically elected sovereign Iraqi government.

They are not like your collection of terrorists, militia/rabble and/or criminals found on the battlefield and/or caught in the act of violence (suspected/proven)

There is a distinct advantage extended to those in legitimate employment of the state (in this case the military).

Come to think of it, rather like the difference between common law status & marriage :)


  • 77.
  • At 12:46 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

this has been dragging on long enough. Tony Blair should give the Iranians a strict 48-72 hours to release the hostages (due to the evidence produced to back the UK claims that the sailors were in Iraqi waters) then if the hostages are not released, the SAS should be engaged in a covert operation to rescue the hostages.

  • 78.
  • At 12:50 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Julian Manning wrote:

Even if the UK sailors and marines were in Iranian waters, the mature course of action to be taken by Iranian forces on the scene would be to have escorted them the alleged 2 or so kilometers back to where the Iranians accept that the U.K. can legitmately operate.
Arresteing the forces at gun point, hauling them off to Teheran and parading them out of uniform on TV whilst making belicose noises is the act of a childish, if not paranoid, regime. If the Iranian government wishes to be treated with respect, it should act with maturity and restraint in what it full knows to be a sensitive area.
I live in Japan. There are many disputed borders in the seas around here. Chinese and Korean vessels often test Japan's will to defend what it claims as its borders. If the Japanese responded as Iran has done, it would only serve to raise tensions in the area, perhaps to the point of giving causus beli to one or another state. Is that what the Iranian government wants?

  • 79.
  • At 12:53 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

Anyone who knows the present Iran knows their classic signs - prevaricate, fabricate - calculate comes last. Ever tried to do maths without a formulae ? Thats today's Iran !!!

  • 80.
  • At 12:57 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • bill wrote:

I can't believe that some would take the words from a government who's says the holocost never happened.
Some people will never learn.

The answer is simple. Bomb every powerplant, ship, train, water treatment plant, bridge, government building, military installation in the entire country.

It won't take long for the Iranian's to overthrow their own government just like in Kosovo.

  • 81.
  • At 01:00 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Why doesn't the British government do what it and other European governments always do in a crisis, go to the Security Council for a resolution condemning Iran. With any luck this time France won't veto it. On the other hand, if they are making any profits out of doing business with Iran.....

  • 82.
  • At 01:01 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

This is really pathetic, what kind of country ambushes and takes hostage 15 sailors who are in a couple of inflatable boats?
Clearly diplomacy isnt working and other action needs to be taken...ASAP.

  • 83.
  • At 01:02 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Derek wrote:

The Iranian government (if that's what you can call it) is stupid, stupidity is dangerous. As it is Iran is a powder keg waiting to go BOOM! If Bush wasn't in Iraq just now, he be testing his missiles at Nuclear processing plants in Iran.

Iran needs to come into the real world, get outside help to create/maintain it's nuclear power plants ...

It would have been interesting if this was US guys that got captured.. When the helicopter saw the 2 boats would it have taken them out? I think so...

I'd also question why they were sent to a boat so under armed. What if someone the boat they were inspecting had heavy weapons .. seems well odd & a proper review of these procedures needs taken.

  • 84.
  • At 01:03 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Derek wrote:

Iran WILL one day have NUKES. A couple of years, 10 maybe. When that happens they are untouchable. They will do what they want, Israel will get involved, everyone will get involved.

It's just a mess over there..

  • 85.
  • At 01:06 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • leigh wrote:

Forget not
The British boat was not in the
It was making illegal war in the middle east.
Alls fair in war.
If the British would stay home,
forget past empire and colonialism,
and sail your war boats in your waters , PROBLEM SOLVERED.

  • 86.
  • At 01:06 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Pash wrote:

Response to post No. 41

If it wasn't for the imbeciles that decided to invade Iraq, these soldiers wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

  • 87.
  • At 01:20 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

Since no one here really knows what exactly happened, I think it's a bit soon for the jingoists to run rampage.
The comments about the headscarf are just silly, since no Western channel would allow bollock-naked prisoners to offend their viewers. The Iranians draw their own lines, and it's not exactly torture to cover one's hair.
In Iran, they have their own spin doctors (hate that term!) and the whole international news scene is becoming a farce. Team America (the movie) is not only wickedly funny but points out a lot of this manipulation, and the current situation is just as stupid, just as royal weddings, football scandals and celebrity-centred "exclusives" divert public attention from the real issues, both home and abroad.

  • 88.
  • At 01:30 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Boggs wrote:

This is a matter of provocation. Iran has nothing to lose from this endeavour - trade embargos are in place and there is very little that can be done to further destroy their image with the west.

It also somehow reminds me of a bully back in elementary school who would jab me when the teacher is not looking and wait for my reaction. Eventually my patience wore thin, and my (rather forceful) reaction got me in trouble. He learned his lesson though, and never bothered me again.

Perhaps Iranian government will need to be taught a lesson as well, if they have failed to see it demonstrated in Iraq. The lesson being: respect the global community, and you will be respected in return.

It's been informative & ironic fun trawling through the above posts of the apologists & appeasers of the radical regime in Iran (ref my #8)

The only thing more pathetic than Iran's political poor choice to launch a blatant ambush, kidnapping & hostage taking, is the inept management & communication exchange of the Iranians thereafter [1]:

- issuing two set of coordinates: 1st position - the original ones placing the ambush in Iraqi waters (backing up the position given by anchored ships captain & Royal Navy's); 2nd position - replacing the ambush in Iranian waters

- inept contradictory press statements.

- amateurish, clearly concocted staged interview/letter of female sailor.

- amateurish compilation of footage captured by kidnapped British forces own cameras & mixed with Iranian own footage taken.

Meantime, besides the backing of numerous other countries & orgs, EU [2a], US [2b] etc the kidnap issue is being passed to the UN Security Council on Thursday 29th March [3]

There is a Persian proverb ….. "Be a lion at home and a fox abroad" *

* the Iranian Republican Guardian & the regime of old President Ahmadinejad, on their own doorstep, once again demoted Iranian military & radical regime to a jack ass.

If anyone was in any doubt about the motives, sincerity & honesty of radical Iran, ref this kidnap or their nuclear intentions, they have amply demonstrated it to a watching world.




  • 90.
  • At 01:49 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

On the brighter note, I think the sailors are being treated very well, and are safer than if they were actually at their jobs deployed back in Iraq. Eating Persian food, resting, and not having to worry about being killed any moment. A forced vacation, I would say.

  • 91.
  • At 01:56 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Kelly (ned) wrote:

As a sailor myself i would like to see my collegues returned safely but, it is not uncommon for the flag vessel in this case cornwall to lose its sight of their units. in past experience i recall HMS Nottingham was unable to locate its helicopter which was scouting. Because of the the crew had to ditch and the lynx was lost.maybe this was one of those times where technology has let us down. on the other foot how were 6 of their units quickly mobilised and dead set on there target.

  • 92.
  • At 02:34 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Mahmood wrote:

I've been at times very disappointed with the BBC's claim to impartial reporting by virtue of it's continuous references to the "Persian Gulf" as the "Gulf" or even worse the "Arabian Gulf". In addition, most references made to the "Iranian TV pictures" showing the British navy crew have been somewhat misleading and distorted in that the pictures shown on UK TV channels were from an "Arabic Language" TV channel run by the islamic regime and NOT for the consumption of the native Farsi (Persian) speaking Iranian population. This is a significant fact which has conveniently been omitted from news reports and has inadvertently given the audience a distorted view of reality!

  • 93.
  • At 02:37 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Amna Langah wrote:

Can BBC actually present "the truth" in one nice and simple unbiased news article which is easy to follow for ordinary people like me? We all know that the captured sailors are going to be released soon unharmed as it has happend in the past as well. If they did tresspass the iranian waters, they will have to face the consequences (here i am not talking about any sentences according to the "islamic laws", all i mean is justice!)but if they did not, no need to worry, they will be released soon. Plus, why are we not concerned about thousands of people being kidnapped and killed by the alies in iraq and afganistan? they must have spouses and children too....why do we have double standards?

  • 94.
  • At 02:40 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Hassan wrote:

We shouldn't limit our point of view to the terorism matter and say that Yes,Iran is a trouble maker in the region and should be convicted in any matter like this!..No, it's absolutly wrong if we think in this way. Governments and their military forces have to respect to the approved international law and legislations, otherwise they can not expect to be treated respectfully. If these navies tresspassed to Iranian waters willingly, it is the responsiblity of Iranian guard to arrest and investigate them.But we should consider the fact that it can be happen wherever and not only in Iran! This is a legal process that should be done to keep the country borders safe. So Britain government should calm down, be patient and keep its diplomatic efforts to conclude it peacefully as soon as possible.

  • 95.
  • At 02:48 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • GUY FOX wrote:




  • 96.
  • At 03:24 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Poyan wrote:

Most of the comments here are foolish. The fact that the captured sailors are from the UK is limiting the subjectivity of the British media and public.

BBC articles continually ponder the motives of the Iranian regime on this and the previous occasion when British personnel were arrested in 2004. They all ignore the most important fact. On the previous incident the UK government admitted to crossing into Iranian waters. Lack of respect for Iranian sovereignty is more than enough justification for the incident.

The problem is the Blair and Bush government's lack of respect for international law. The very presence of these sailors in the Gulf is a result of their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Also let us not forget that the US army continues to hold personnel from the Iranian diplomatic mission (which they claim are revolutionary guards) in Iraq in their secret prisons. Exactly what value the American government's opinion with regard to their status has is questionable since they are Iranian citizens working within Iraqi territory and were identified as diplomats both by Iranian and Iraqi governments. The whole episode stinks of American interference within Iraq’s internal government affairs and contradicts American claims of Iraqi sovereignty.

Also, let us not forget the involvement of the British government in the coup that ended Iranian democracy in 1953 and toppled the democratic government of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh. The stains of British/American neo-colonialist policies are still fresh in Iran, and we have not forgotten.

The US/UK governments have clearly indicated that they do not respect the sovereignty of Middle Eastern nations. Furthermore the UK government has shown its willingness to lie in claiming Iraq was importing enriched uranium from Niger and had the capability to deploy WMDs in 45 minutes. Tony Blair should be made to take his own advice when he claimed, “those who claim Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction will be made to eat their own words”.

To any unbiased observer, the lack of credibility and precedence simply disproves the British government’s claims.

  • 97.
  • At 03:37 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • sosha wrote:

i cant undrestand.they give her back to uk after this tv show.then why they should make the sailor to tell all these lies as they know if she returned,she can say that they forced me to tell these.then i think it is meaningless that we think they forced her to tell these.
otherwise why the people should accept the uk information about the place that they have arrested(on irag waters) and reject iran's informations.

  • 98.
  • At 04:20 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • SacredTruth wrote:

Interesting that Iraqi government didnt register any protest against Iran for the invasion of their waters by the revolutionary guard men and vessels on top of that capturing British Marines, instead issued statement/chorus like what everyone else is saying, "British sailors were in Iraqi waters." Dont I smell the same old philosophy here. Speak a lie as many times as it is taken to be a truth by masses. Besides the current British govt. has a history of lying bluntly as they did when they were going to war with Iraq. They lied to their own people , UN(being used as a tool against Iranthis time) and rest of the world.

  • 99.
  • At 04:25 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Tired of it all wrote:

If these guys were in Iranian waters why didn't Iran just point it out to them and have them correct themselves as opposed to taking them prisoner? After all Britain and Iran are not at war with each other. Those who think Iran is oh so innocent are fooling themselves.

  • 100.
  • At 04:34 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Ricardo wrote:

For all of you who think the UK is at fault in this, lots of laffs! This is right out of the Revolutionary guards playbook. They don't need a silly excuse, as a matter of fact, when they got caught with the wrong coordinates, no problem!, the iranians just changed them! What the iranians do have is the Hostages, and that is the game ball. They have announced they expect an apology from the UK.
Since Blair is such a liar, and we are so bad because we deposed peace loving flower power Saddam, the right thing to do is apologise and let this be over quick. God forgive the UK strike back! Please, the UK is not violent cowboy America, but wise enough to smooth over this minor incident and apologise like a mature peace loving nation. PEACE IN OUR TIME!!! (sound familiar?)

  • 101.
  • At 05:04 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Jose Aragao wrote:

Whether it is true or not that the British sailors were inside Iranian territorial waters is now an issue of less importance if one starts to consider the bigger picture. Given the war that has been going on in Iraq over the past years, the entire middle east region has been put on the brink of a collapse which has ramifications for global peace and order. Iran has not by any means demonstrated its willingness to at least lobby for a concerted and peaceful resolution of this massive problem especially taking into account that it is happening right on the other side of its border. Instead it has opted to contravene international regulations on the issue of nuclear technology thereby creating additional and serious concerns over its real intentions and ambitions at a regional level. Iran is clearly aware of the fact that it inevitably is forcing the international community to react against its actions, and all parties concerned are also aware that any reaction has to be carefully thought through, particularly if these involve military considerations. Having taken British sailors into custody claiming that they were inside Iran's territorial waters has already been done with. If the purpose is to flex its political muscle or to show its level of influence then it has already been achieved. Extremely worrying however are Iran's clear signs of wanting to push this issue further to such an extent that it might cause a forceful response from Britain. This is not what anybody wants. Iran's leadership must understand this and thus release the sailors. It is now in a position of preventing things from getting out of control, and I sincerely hope that the Iranian authorities are wise enough to understand this.

  • 102.
  • At 05:14 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • James H wrote:

Whatever the truth the Marine Commander was playing with fire. Why play hanky-panky on the maritime borders? Within hours the arab press (and Al Jazeera) were saying the marines had been "inside" Iranian waters according to arab-speaking witnesses (shipping merchants?). Now its easy to put yellow tags on a British map. What maps are the Iranians using? The Navy were behaving like colonials in that highly disputed narrow cannal. Now the Iranians are making use of this stupid situation. One can hardly blame them, we would do the same. But the marines should be released.

  • 103.
  • At 07:05 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Sahel wrote:

To you Number 9 C Smith

You had complaints about covering the case of the British servicewoman more than that of the men, and that the interview with men has not been broadcast. I don't know about the coverage in Britain but this is to make you sure that no interview except the one with the woman u have already seen has been released in Iran.

  • 104.
  • At 08:29 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • tom wrote:

I have worried for long time that Iran has or will have weapons of mass destruction. After this incident I am not so worried. They can not even get the GPS cooridinates right. It may take them longer then I thought to get NUKES.

How absurd is it that their "proof" demonstrated that the UK boats were in Iraqi waters? There is no arguement here, Iran just killed any chance that their poorly planned and poorly excueted propoganda scheme had of fooling the world.

  • 105.
  • At 08:36 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Stuart Tradewell wrote:

Aren't we just glad that it wasn't Americans who were seized. Otherwise,we would have been in the throes of another middle Eastern war front - Blair or no Blair. Something the English can do very well is diplomacy, however apparently distasteful in the face of alleged aggression. There's no sublety in US or Iranian diplomacy (well, yes,, of course, cunning - but that's not sublety, restraint, training - or even learning their language)

  • 106.
  • At 09:06 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • simple fact wrote:

"I wonder if such thoughtfulness and concern is given when showing pictures of tons of Iraqi, Afghani, etc captives that are held by the Allies in Afghanisatn, Iraq, Guantanamo, etc..."

When that happens, the BBC is up in arms. When it's the other way round, the BBC is curiously silent.

This debate will go on and on over the rights of nations. The problem is the region and everything else is nothing more then show casing.

The Uk should support the men and women who are up front in the line of duty.

All this talking really doesn't change anything. The Iraians must have to prove where they say the British were and if not, well I'll lead the raiding party "myself!"

  • 108.
  • At 11:19 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • John wrote:

I think this time the British public should consider demonstrating by thousands in London streets against kidnapping of our marines in Persian Gulf by the Iranian regime.

  • 109.
  • At 11:27 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Wasim wrote:

Did the BBC ever care about the families of those people being illegally detained in Guantanamo when broadcasting their pictures to the world? I don't think so. The very same way Iran has every right to capture illegal combatants when they enter their sovereign territory and to show their videos to the world. It would have been even better if the iranians had Shown these captors in orange jumpsuits with their hands and feet bound and sitting in cages like they're doing to muslims in guantanamo.

  • 110.
  • At 11:33 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • John Williams wrote:

If we had been trespassing then surely this would be classed as an act of agression, rendering captured personnel as prisoners of war. I thought under the Geneva Convention that prisoners of war were not allowed to be used as propoganda or be challenged/degraded according to their religion. Having Faye Turney wearing a head scarf on TV is clearly a breach of this. I hate to say it, but we really should show a massive act of agression against them to scare them into a submission. It's often the only way with a bully.

  • 111.
  • At 11:49 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Maziar (#42):- That may be the case, but she's not Muslim, nor Iranian. If you were in Britain, would you want to be made to eat pork?

Just another example of fanatical zealots displaying religious intolerance.

  • 112.
  • At 01:06 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • ABDOU K. SILLAH wrote:

It is completely rediculous and complete lack of common sense for the British government to belief that they don't make mistake and apology is the heaviest word for them to utter.

Although the case of the sailors are still not independently verified, and the UK government cannot for certain say that the sailors have not crossed to the Iranian waters.

What is making the mattter worse of a simple issue which could have been amicably solved and saved the sailors from the embarassment they are going through, is the arrogant behaviour of the American goverment thinking that their complete lack of deplomacy works in every situation.

  • 113.
  • At 01:16 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • bob wrote:

How can Blair condemn Iran showing images of the captured crew on telly as wrong when they might only be wanting to prove they are in good health. I have never seen blair comment on what the americans are doing to so called enemy combatants in gitmo for all these years, what if Iran dressed the sailors in orange boiler suits and had them handcuffed and blindfolded with a possible court date in 5 - 10 years !?

  • 114.
  • At 01:25 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Summer wrote:

Last time that I had checked Iran and UK had very friendly relationship. I mean there is a British Embassy in Tehran, they have full staff including an Ambassador. Is there an American Embassy? No.
So, my point, if the soldiers were in Iranian water, Iran should start an official process with the U.N. to prosecute the invaders and consequently take the soldiers to court. If the British soldiers were in the Iraqi water, then Iran should be prosecuted for kidnapping and invading the Iraqi terroritory. It is hard for the Iranian and British nations to remain rational in the middle of all this. Yet I wonder what is going on here? The British government has been friendly with the government of Iran while everyone else in the States hasn't. So I think they need to deal with the consequences. And yet I do sympathize with all those innocent soldiers.

  • 115.
  • At 02:07 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • mike wrote:

Hello, Im from a neutral country. My view on this is that both Governements should look at the bigger picture. The world has enough problems at the moment and someone needs to rise above this "if you do this we will do that" mentality.

I don't know who to believe about where the soldiers were when captured but that's besides the point. The fact is, nobody died. Why don't both governents agree to the views of the UN. If the UN say they were in Iranian waters then the UK should apologise, and viceversa if in Iraqi waters. But the emphasis should be on moving on with it, return the soldiers, and continue to focus on making better relations. I think the UN really need to act quick and take responsibility. This is like watching children having an arguement about who cheated in a game of battleships!! I envisage that in 1 week those soldiers will be home, won't feel traumatised and hopefully this will be all forotten about.

  • 116.
  • At 02:39 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Hannah wrote:

Many of these comments have very little to do with the article...

It doesn't matter if the British forces trespassed or not. Once they were taken captive they should have been allowed consular access, and they most certainly should not be broadcast on tv, much less making confessions, before they have been advised by the local embassy and - in case Iran is serious about bringing charges - a lawyer.

With regards to the re-broadcasting of the video's by the bbc etc. I think number 74 above was right with the point that that they would have ended up on you tube etc anyway. It was nice of the broadcasting companies to contact the families first.

Is it true that the images we have seen did not come from the Farsi channel most Iranians would have watched? If so, why?

  • 117.
  • At 03:44 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • NYC_GUY wrote:

I am impressed with BBC's ability to allow all views to be presented in this forum - this is free press, thank you.

Please pass this note to American News Services !

I believe the BBC is right to broadcast the Iranian produced propaganda.

For audiences biased to Iranian argument & action, this only re-enforces their position.

For wider world audiences, the totality of Iranian deceit, absurd action & tactics & stupidity of blatantly coerced propaganda, re-enforces the poor view of Iran's radical regime. Not only on this issue, but funding of terrorism & the nuclear issue *

* if we cannot believe Iran over something as straightforward as this, why anything else?

The latest utterance, clearly demonstrates a complete lack of maturity & ability to recognise the harm being done to Iran's already battered reputation:

- "Iran will delay the release of the only woman among 15 British military personnel detained last week if Tehran is faced with "fuss and wrong behavior" from Britain, a senior Iranian official said on Thursday" [1]

- "The solution ``is for British authorities to accept the truth, present apologies to the great Iranian people and pledge that such aggression into Iranian waters won't happen anymore,'' state-run Mehr news cited General Alireza Afshar, a spokesman for the head of Iran's armed forces, as saying today" [2]

No wonder the whole Iranian strategy has blown up in their faces. If a radical regime puts people in place of power by the merit of their fanaticism rather than ability, you end up being regarded as a petulant child, they deserve a UN ASBO :).

The whole sorry afar has re-enforced Iran's reputation for being a bunch of clowns, albeit lethal, but clowns nether the less.

By ambush, hostage, kidnap, blackmail & now coercesion …. Iran could extract all the confessions & apologies they want …. but who is going to believe them now, other than those with bias, agenda and/or blinkered simpletons :)

By such blatant & ignorant action, Iran has surely become the laughing stock of the Middle East.

This incident, is a fitting testimony to the madness of rule by President Ahmadinejad & the religious zealots who have high jacked the Iranian nation & ruined the fortunes & prosperity of their people.




  • 119.
  • At 04:35 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • An Iranian wrote:

We witnessed leftists, communists and other activists took people to streets of London to demonstrate against the war in Iraq. If they really care for people of this nation they must organise another massive demonstration as soon as possible against the criminal rulers in Iran.

The regime in Iran has nothing to loss as they know well that the end to their rule is near they are trying hard to provoke Great Britain and USA to attach them so perhaps they could extend their miserable time in Iran.

The main characters of the Iranian regime are kidnapping, murder, deception and stealing the wealth of people of Iran.

They have nothing to do with any religion whatsoever. Iranian people know this very well.

Even if "Her Majesty's" Senior Service people were in Iranian territorial waters, (which they were not) the International Maritime law prevails and they should have been escorted back to international waters; irrespective of the UK/US Iraq situation there is NO law to allow for the kidnapping of sailors at sea.

  • 121.
  • At 05:58 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Truth wrote:

"Iranian TV would not have shown her without a veil" - Kavyon

She never entered Iran at her own free will. Terrorits from Iran abducted her and her crew from Iranian waters at gunpoint.

They were then forced (again we can predict at gunpoint because that's the only way of dealing with people terrorists understand) to spout statements written for them but terrorists.

Now they are locked up somewhere probably going under extreme duress. Hopefully not undergoing a dose of that famous terrorist hospitality.

*Substitute terrorist for Iranian Government as they are one in the same.

The GPS is indesputable proof. The Iranians think they're funny with their school yard tactics. Why don't we give them a taste of their own medicine by expelling them from any kind of international organisation (but I'm sure that they'll maintain their lifelong membership at the Terrorist Union) and let the people see their Government for what it really is.

  • 122.
  • At 08:48 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • nehad ismail, camberley, england wrote:

Iran must release the British soldiers and apologize for unalwful kidnapping.

The hole Iran placed itself gets deeper.

The latest communiqué Iran expects the world to swallow :)

"On Thursday it released a second letter apparently written by Leading Seaman Faye Turney calling on the UK to start withdrawing its troops from Iraq" [1]

Iran is truly a 2nd rate circus being run by clowns

"“Stupidity is better kept a secret than displayed” - Heraclitus of Ephesus




  • 124.
  • At 09:03 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Brian Robinson wrote:

When will the "normal" people of the world wake up and stop letting leaders get us in to these messes.
Britain is claiming 1.7Km inside Iraqi water, Iran is claiming now 0.5Km inside Iranian water. Does that mean all this is about 2.2KM. I realise all your comments about the other things. But is this what we people of the world are allowing our leaders to do.
Come on - grow up - if this was two kids at school arguing over this - they would get very short change.

  • 125.
  • At 09:56 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • P. Jahromi wrote:

I as an Iranian refugee in UK want to make it clear that the acts of taking hostage is an old policy of the Islamic government, not the Iranian people who really love guests and are hospitable. I really am sorry that this stupid mistake done by the regime of Iran (not the Iranian people) and want to symaphize with the families and friends of the captives. Knowing that this is what the Islamic occupants (regime) in Iran even don't have mercy on their own friends and relatives, the world does not have to blame the poor people of Iran, as they themselves are taken hostage by this regime and are not happy with the regime.
Again I one behalf of myself and all free Iranians in the world that we condemn this act done by the Islamic regime in Iran, and hope that those responsible in the regime would think twice and let this crisis made by them finish as soon as possible.
It is a habit of the regime to put under pressure the people captured by them and even get a broadcasted confession, and maybe this is a good reason for the world to see what are the people of Iran going through and stop kissing and chatting with this Islamic government who has no respect for any morals in the world, and would help the Iranian people to get rid of this terroristic regime in Iran.

"Experts say that the recently-discovered ancient Jiroft civilisation (south east Iran) was one of the earliest literate societies in the world" [1]

3,000 years later, given 'dubious' standard of Iran's latest two coerced letters, the current Iranian education system has a lot to answer for :)




  • 127.
  • At 12:28 AM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

It is time for us to start withdrawing our forces from Iraq and let them determine their own future.

  • 128.
  • At 12:58 AM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Iranian boy wrote:

I am from Iran, I hope you UNDERSTAND that here is our teritory Iran and here is not iraq or afghanistan or argentina... you support some terorist groups in order to kill iranians in Khozestan Province in iran and we never let you to do it. Go your home and out iraq

  • 129.
  • At 05:26 AM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Amitabh Thakur wrote:

The way Iran is moving and the way it is trying to get into a long-drawn brawl with UK shall in no way be appreciated. It is clear that the UK is acting in utmost restraint and it is trying to sort out the matter in the best possible manner. Iran, on its part, should reciprocate in the same spirit. It is not relevant any more whether the British soldiers went there deliberately or not. As long as the Government of UK is taking the blame for any impropriety, if committed, Iran must take it as a suitable guarantee. It must not forget the fact that any attempt in the direction of straining its foreign relations with the West will prove as detrimental to its people as it will to the We4st.
It is high time, Iran acted in the correct manner and release those British hostage. As far as the BBC's way of thinking in this regard in concerned, it is highly appreciable and laudable.
Amitabh Thakur,

  • 130.
  • At 11:16 AM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Amitabh Thakur #122

hear hear



It's been a bargain price diplomatic incident for Iran.

The cost of a couple of inflatable boats & housing costs for 15 'guests'

Iran has the world's attention, though a watching world is not seeing what it would like it too & the world is forming opinions counter to what Iran intended. The reputation of Iran is fully strewn about the gutter, it's squandered all vestiges of honour & decency as NO-ONE of any consequence has respect or high expectation of it.

Iran has not fostered feeling of admiration and/or obeisance (begrudging or otherwise) amongst other nations by such actions. Rather it has fostered feelings of pity & contempt & proved Iran cannot be relied on and/or trusted.

Nor can Iran so readily call on the institutions & laws it has so purposely ignored & broken, too shore up its own position in the future (when it is surely going to have need of such sooner than later & more than most).

The reputation of the UK & US was under significant pressure (due to difficulties of the Iraq mission) but now Iran has managed the extremely difficult double whammy of fostering:

1) widespread support & sympathy for the UK

2) belated/retrospective accord & acceptance for the position of the UK & US for taking pre-emptive action against radical forces.

Not only was a questionable Iranian strategy devised, its been questionably executed. Iran cocked it up, purposely bypassing & breaking International law & convention. The only thing bigger than the utter stupid decision to apply pressure in this way, is the laughable communications management of the incident, spin it is not!. The coerced letters & videos have done an incredible amount of harm too Iran credibility & reputation for competence (the initial idea to use such fraudulent & contrived means, the inept way materials have been drafted & the utter incredulous contempt by which they have been received around the world).

In return for this low cost strategy, there is a significant amount on the line for those in power by way of reputation & influence: the radical Presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; radical forces in government, military & other agencies; the rule of the rather radical Iranian Clergy.

Above all the belligerent politics of Iran's nuclear stalling policy/non compliance policy, will be the biggest causality of the decision too kidnap & hold 15 British hostages. Iran can no longer expect the world to reply on it's word ref nuclear assurances & intentions, when it has so clearly been caught out by the going's on surrounding the planned kidnapping & developments since.

Therefore, though Iran's strategy is cheap & quick in execution its extremely risky (with long term consquence) to those backing it, whose reputation & fortunes are dependent & tied to its outcome.

But it would be ironic to see the tipping point & fall of radical Iran for the price of a couple of inflatable boats :)

The nation of Iran can count on many of its decent, honourable & able people. The extremists/radicals in Iran have fashioned the biggest potential rationale for change, the opposition could have hoped for.

Prediction ... bon voyage ... Mahmoud Ahmadinejad & all who sail with him - those inflatable's could come in handy after all :)


  • 132.
  • At 01:34 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • John wrote:

Islamic Republic of Iran means deception, fraud, theft and murder.

The regime manages the country like a private company whereby the shareholders are few people.

What they have done to the British marines is a classic case of this regime they have done this to the Iranian people for years.

We must demonstration in London against Iranian rulers.

The world will be a safer place for all without this regime.

  • 133.
  • At 02:45 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Peter747 wrote:

Those who seem to think that there is or might be some right on the side of Iran fail to recognise that the Iranian response to these sailors and marines allegedly straying half a mile (or was it half a kilometre) over the sea border with Iraq is so out of proportion that it is laughable. The waterway in question is crossed and recrossed by dozens of vessels every week. Do they all 'respect' this border?

So what if the Iranians are right? Are they truly alleging that the British were up to no good in Iran, that they were on their way to attack or spy on Iran, all done with at least two Iranian gun-boats in full view throughout? Give me a break.

Gracing the Iranian position with any kind of justification is pure stupidity and the Iranian officials who talk of trials and so on are unfit to live in a civilised world. They belong with the likes of Robert Mugabe, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, short term rabble rousers and long term losers.

  • 134.
  • At 03:09 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Angela Leonard wrote:

I was surprised to hear on a late night politics show on Thursday that in January the Americans took 5 Iranian dipolmats hostage (apparently they were in Iraq) The Americans will not reveal where they are detaining the Iraian diplomats or give them consular access. Maybe the taking of the 15 UK people is in relaliation. By showing them on TV the Iranians are proving that they are ok and not being tortured.

Was the January event reported? Maybe I missed it. It would be good for the BBC to revisit it and explore if the current situation is tit-for-tat.

I was also concerned that Russia was key to the watered down statement from the UN saying that the location of the UK people could not be independantly verified. I find this surprising I would have expected Russia to have the capability to verify this, but maybe they don't want to strain relations with Britain by saying that we were in the wrong and were in Iranian waters.

Unfortunately I have become very cynical to the UK/US governments motives. I do get the impression they are trying to provoke Iran.

  • 135.
  • At 06:34 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

I agree wholeheartedly with C Smith (#9) about the disproportionate coverage given to Faye Turney. I can't even name any of the other personnel who've been detained, and that's a very poor reflection on the British media.

30-odd years after equal rights legislation, mainstream broadcasters and elements of the press still refer to a comissioned member of the Royal Navy as a 'wife and mother' first and an armed servicewoman second.

It's hardly as though she was out shopping in Morrison's or doing the school run and just happened to get herself nabbed by an Iranian coastguard - she was doing her job - a hazardous job in a deeply unstable part of the world where the rule of law is still determined by the person who carries the biggest gun.

The Iranians have exploited Faye Turney's gender, which their theocratic regime associates with vulnerability and inferiority; however we should rise above their sexist agenda and having seen some of the coverage of this story I wonder how far supposedly enlightened Britain has itself moved on from the 1950s and those public information films featuring the typical good little housewife.

Here's hoping for a speedy, successful and above all bloodless resolution to this crisis.

  • 136.
  • At 05:56 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • vikingar wrote:


The world continues to increase its use of a limited non replaceable energy source like oil.

Although many of the inexact doom merchants predict & attribute man made climate change to this consumption, on the flip side something else to look forward too.

Once the oil is gone (or greatly reduced in importance) regimes which are propped up by such dated carbon based energy economies, will be nurtured.

So on the sliding scales of malfunctioning societies such as : Venezuela …. Russia …. Iran

Alternative energy supplies are already 50% of the way there. New generation of nuclear technology ** can provide unlimited amount of energy, the storage & transference of energy into households, industry & infrastructure is what is holding us up.

** the focus will shift to radioactive sources of raw materials.

Yes, over the next 50+ years it looks likely more upheaval due to climate change, but also an increase of radical regime nurturing … all due to oil.

btw - the sustainable energy alternatives, are never going to emerge from middle eastern society (academics/industry). Most likely it will be originated in progressive democratic societies, crammed full of free thinkers & doers.

The zeal of religious & politics fanatics are not going to provide the answers …. but capitalism will (out of necessity rather than dogma).

So only 50 odd years of oil politics to go then :)


  • 137.
  • At 06:55 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

This just goes to show what we are dealing with in western society, enough's! enough!. lets get more energy Efficient, and not have to deal with middle east oil. Close all our boarders to Islamic states. let them try and sort out there own primitive problems. Islam is not ready for Democracy, it is a long way from it. Corruption is what reigns in this part of the world, right down to the people, and should not be mixed with what we value. Just take a look at the mess within the U.N. I am sorry if this sounds racist, but I've had enough. This world is far from ready for liberalism.

  • 138.
  • At 07:16 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Lets get down to basics, the Iranian government are nothing but pirates, and should be made to walk the plank, in modern terms. GET ON WITH IT!

  • 139.
  • At 09:16 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • elle wrote:

I'm reading these,from far away, there are no shells or bombers in my back yard - no eminent threat!Why is this happening? Well someone has an agenda. The weapons of "mass de-struction" how dumb does that sound - we know now - the truth!whose, look at whats happening - Like Sadam didn't have to keep a hold of conflicts - and he did - axis of evil, really.Why are the Americans and the British in Iraq? Iran? The Kurds, the women, the free will of people to capatilism and the"election"? How many people in the states actually vote? most votes are bought - even Wal-mart employes the CIA, and probably has a bigger budget.(candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker)Why not just let Wal Mart in there, they can all work part time jobs at minimum wage, loose all their local market base, and local economy, thus their culture and pride-ahh, thats next year. Iran with nuclear capa-bilities, why not, not every country is Canada - Have the United Nations get Arab peace keepers in to evolve what is now a civil war, and go home. I'm sure the Americans have killed more than 15 personal in "friendly fire" - lest we forget

  • 140.
  • At 02:12 AM on 07 Apr 2007,
  • HALF_BLOOD wrote:

i just wanted to raise one issue people, the sailers say that they where kept away from the woman for four days, then how the hell did iran show footage of them eating food on the second and third day?
the british army is spoon feeding the marines:@

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