Britain has already frozen relations with Iran, and is seeking condemnation of the sailors’ and marines’ abduction at the United Nations.
Iran’s initial “humanitarian” gesture of offering the early release of Faye Turney served to raise international hopes, which Iran can now exploit in using Turney as its main bargaining chip, as well as a propaganda trophy in defiance of the Geneva Convention. “Britain seeks U.N. condemnation of Iran,” from Associated Press:
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran may delay the release of the female British sailor if Britain takes the issue to the U.N. Security Council or freezes relations, the country’s top negotiator Ali Larijani said Thursday. The Foreign Office in London, meanwhile, said Britain is seeking condemnation of Iran at the United Nations.
The seizure of 15 British sailors and marines, including Faye Turney, the only woman among them, took place during operations in Iraqi waters under a U.N. Security Council mandate, said the Foreign Office official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject.
“There are some plans to say something on behalf of the United Nations (about the seized troops) but they have not been finalized,” said the official.
Speaking on Iranian state radio, Larijani said: “British leaders have miscalculated this issue.” If Britain follows through with its policies on the British sailors and marines detained by Iran last week, Larijani said “this case may face a legal path” “” a clear reference to Iran’s prosecuting the sailors in court.
Britain asked the Security Council to support a call for the immediate release of the detainees, saying in a statement Wednesday they were operating in Iraqi waters under a mandate from the Security Council and at the request of Iraq, according to council
diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the text was not released.
Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s official spokesman said Britain wanted to resolve the crisis quickly and without having a “confrontation over this.”
In a briefing to reporters, the spokesman said British officials had been angered by Tehran’s decision to show captured the British sailors and marines on Iranian television.
“Nobody should be put in that position. It is an impossible position to be put in,” he said. “It is wrong. It is wrong in terms of the usual conventions that cover this. It is wrong in terms of basic humanity.”
“We are not seeking to put Iran in a corner,” said the spokesman. “We are simply saying, ‘Please release the personnel who should not have been seized in the first place.'”
On Wednesday, Britain announced it was freezing relations with Iran.