Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Iran Releases British Sailors (Thursday?)

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From Iran releases British sailors
Blair says he bears ‘no ill will’; Syria claims it provided ‘quiet diplomacy’
MSNBC News Services
Updated: 1:28 p.m. ET April 4, 2007

LONDON - Iran on Wednesday freed the 15 detained British sailors and marines in what President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called an Easter gift to the British people.
An "Easter gift" to the British people? I thought the Muslims don't recognize Jesus Christ as the Risen Son of God. Last I checked, that's what Easter was all about, the Resurrection of the Son of God. Contrary to popular belief, it's not about bunnies and eggs and candy. I'm going to look more into this "Easter gift" from the Muslims. I'll let you know if I've been missing anything.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said he bore “no ill will” toward the Iranian people.
I sure hope that's just politics speaking. If Blair really has "no ill will," maybe it's a good thing he'll be leaving office soon.
Iranian state television said the 14 men and one woman, who were seized while on patrol in the northern Persian gulf on March 23, would leave Iran on Thursday. An Iranian official in London said they would be handed over to British diplomats in Tehran.
So they haven't actually been released yet. That would explain Mr. Blair's lack of ill will. We'll see how ill his will is come Friday morning.
Ahmadinejad’s surprise announcement came at a news conference shortly after he pinned a medal on the chest of the Iranian coast guard commander who intercepted the sailors and marines.

“I’m glad that our 15 service personnel have been released and I know their release will come as a relief not just to them but to their families,” Blair said outside his No. 10 Downing St. office. “Throughout, we have taken a measured approach, firm but calm, not negotiating but not confronting, either.”

Blair added, “To the Iranian people I would simply say this: We bear you no ill will.”

Iranian state television later showed the British sailors talking to Ahmadinejad at the country's presidential palace apparently minutes before they were to be freed.

The footage showed Ahmadinejad shaking hands with the sailors and smiling and chatting.
I obviously wasn't there. I can't speak to what it's like to held captive by Iran, or any other country for that matter. And maybe when you start hearing talk of your release, you do what you must to go along with the plan that guarantees your freedom. Somehow, I just can't picture myself in that picture shaking hands with, smiling at, or even talking cordially to the Evil Iranian (who may be second only to Mad Vlad Putin on the scale of Evil Tyrants, now that Saddam is gone).
The Iranian president had said the Britons would be taken to Tehran aiport at the end of the press conference that he was addressing, but The Associated Press and Reuters news agency later reported that they would be flying out on Thursday.

The White House hailed the release. "As Prime Minister Blair just said, President Bush also welcomes the news," Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said.
No comment from President Bush about not having any ill will. He may be the only one who actually understands the evil alliance between Mad Vlad and the Evil Iranian, and what they are truly capable of doing.
Syria claims role in release

Syria's information minister and foreign minister said Damascus had played a key role in resolving the standoff.
Syria. Remember them? Providing sanctuary to the fleeing Ba'athists from Iraq when the war started. Providing material support to the insurgents that are killing our brave troops. Yeah, that Syria. Don't let their supposed "key role" fool you.
Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said that "Syrian efforts and the Iranian culminated with the release of the British sailors." Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told reporters that "Syria exercised a sort of quiet diplomacy to solve this problem and encourage dialogue between the two parties."

The two officials did not provide details of the Syrian mediation.

Gift to Britain

Ahmadinejad said he had pardoned the sailors as a gift to the British people and to mark the birthday of Islam's Prophet Muhammed and Easter.
So it's not really Easter the Evil Iranian cares about. It's Muhammad's birthday.
"On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet (Muhammad) ... and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people -- with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial -- forgave those 15," he said, referring to the Muslim prophet's birthday last Saturday and Easter, next Sunday.
Did you catch that? I don't think the Evil Iranian paid attention in Sunday School. Is Easter about the "passing of Christ?" Of course not. Easter Sunday is the third day, the Resurrection of Christ. But it's good to know what the Evil Iranian is actually celebrating! I think if I was a troop in captivity and I was told I was being released to mark the "passing of Christ" I'd have to ask them to keep me for three more days and release me when they realize that HE AROSE!
"This pardon is a gift to the British people," he said.

"On behalf of the great Iranian people, I want to thank the Iranian Coast Guard who courageously defended and captured those who violated their territorial waters," the president told a press conference.

He then interrupted his speech and pinned a medal on the commander of the Coast Guards involved in capturing the British sailors and marines in the northern Gulf on March 23. Two other Coast Guards came on to the podium and saluted during the ceremony.

Concern for female sailor?

He criticized Britain for deploying Leading Seaman Faye Turney, one of the 15 Britons, in the Gulf, pointing out that she is a woman with a child.

"How can you justify seeing a mother away from her home, her children? Why don't they respect family values in the West?" he asked of the British government.

Answering questions, Ahmadinejad said there was no link between the sailors' release and the release in Baghdad on Monday of an Iranian diplomat who was seized by gunmen wearing Iraqi military uniforms in January.

"If we had wanted to exchange Jalal Sharafi with the rest (of the Britons) we would have exchanged him for 100,000. But we pardoned them," he said, adding the decision was "based on humanitarian considerations."

The president also weighed in on his country's diplomatic standoff with the United States.

"If Mr. Bush and his government change their behavior ... this side (Iran) has the ability to reconsider" its ties with Washington, he said, without specifying what change he wanted to see.

The White House responded that it was Tehran that needed to change its behavior and again urged the Iranian government to abandon its efforts nuclear program if it wants to improve relations with the United States.
That's what you would expect to hear from President Bush. Not political mumbo jumbo, but the straight scoop. But I'll have more on that, hopefully tonight.
© 2007 MSNBC InteractiveThe Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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