They’re counting on the British to behave as Western governments almost always behave these days: responding to provocations with concessions.
From the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Fifteen British sailors taken at gunpoint Friday by Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Al Quds soldiers were captured intentionally and are to be used as bargaining chips to be used for the release of five Iranians who were arrested at the Iranian consul in Irbil, Iraq by US troops, an Iranian official told the daily paper Asharq al-Awsat on Saturday.
In addition, a senior Iranian military official said Saturday that the decision to capture the soldiers was made during a March 18 emergency meeting of the High Council for Security following a report by the Al-Quds contingent commander, Kassem Suleimani, to the Iranian chief of the armed forces, Maj.Gen. Hassan Firouz Abadi. In the report, according to Asharq al-Awsat, Suleimani warned Abadi that Al Quds and Revolutionary Guards’ operations had become transparent to US and British intelligence following the arrest of a senior Al Quds officer and four of his deputies in Irbil.
According to the official, Iran was worried that its detained people would leak sensitive intelligence information.
Iran’s semi-official news agency, Fars, reported that the 15 Britons have been transferred to the capital Teheran “to explain their aggressive action.” There was no immediate official confirmation of the move.