As the public posturing continues between Iran and the UK over the seizure of the 15 British sailors, the reasons behind the incident may only now be becoming apparent.
The British ‘Independent’ newspaper claims the crew were taken captive after US forces took, and are still holding, five junior Iranian officials.
But the report, published this morning, claims the intended targets had been two very senior Iranian security officers.
The UK government has not commented on the speculation, talking only about the sailors.
“All the way through we’ve had, if you like, two very clear tracks on this,” said British Prime Minister Tony Blair. “One is to try to settle this by way of peaceful and calm negotiation, to get our people back as quickly as possible. The other is to make it clear that if that is not possible then we might have to take a tougher position.”
Ali Larijani, head of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, said if the diplomacy continues in a logical manner the crisis would be solved peacefully and diplomatically.
One Iranian hostage was freed in Iraq today. Jalal Sharafi, Second Secretary at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, was seized two months ago outside his home in the city, by about 30 men dressed in Iraqi army uniform.
Iran has always held the US responsible.