Standing on the tarmac at London’s Heathrow Airport, the 15 British marines and sailors, who spent two weeks as prisoners in Iran, finally knew it was all over. Looking relieved and happy they posed for the media. The borrowed clothes they had been pictured in during 13 days of captivity were gone. In their place, their service uniforms; fatigues for the Marines, traditional blue for the Navy sailors.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed his delight at their return but he did not strike a conciliatory tone towards Iran. “There are elements at least of the Iranian regime that are backing, financing, arming, and supporting terrorism in Iraq,” he said. “I repeat that our forces are there specifically at the request of the Iraqi government, with the full authority of the UN.”
For the released service personnel, however, the war they had left behind in Iraq was the furthest thing from their minds. They simply wanted to be reunited with their families as quickly as possible.