Imagine the international upheaval if a Western country showed a detainee’s face for a moment. It’s simply not done. Meanwhile, in Iran…
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) — Iranian Arabic language network Al Alam on Friday aired new video showing one of 15 British detainees apologizing to Iranians for “entering your waters without permission.”
The British government responded by criticizing the treatment of the sailors and marines, with Prime Minister Tony Blair saying Iran faces “increasing isolation” for refusing to release the service personnel.
The video showed three UK personnel seated in front of a floral backdrop, with one of them later appearing on camera to read a confession to what Tehran claims was their illegal entry into Iranian territory a week ago.
“I deeply apologize for entering your waters,” said the serviceman, identified as Nathan Thomas Summers of Hayle in Cornwall, southwest England.
“On the 23rd of March 2007 in Iranian waters we trespassed without permission,” he said looking at someone or something off camera.
“I’d like to apologize for entering your waters without any permission. I know it happened back in 2004 and I know our government promised that it wouldn’t happen again. Again I do apologize for entering your waters.”
Summers added: “Since we’ve been arrested in Iran our treatment has been very friendly, we have not been harmed at all.
“They’ve looked after us really well. Basically the food they’ve been serving us has been good and I’m grateful no harm has come to us.”
Blair, speaking to reporters a couple of hours after the video was aired, said: “All this does is enhance people’s sense of disgust. Captured personnel being paraded and manipulated in this way doesn’t fool anyone.
“What the Iranians have to realize is that if they continue in this way they will face continuing isolation.”
Blair called for “patience” in dealing with the crisis, adding: “They most important thing is to ensure people are returned safe.”
Earlier Friday, Britain’s Foreign Office responded to the video, telling CNN that “using our servicemen in this way for
propaganda reasons is outrageous.”
Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers on Friday demanded Iran release 15 Britons, though some warned against escalating the dispute and said their diplomatic ties with Tehran would not be immediately affected, The Associated Press reported.
Friday’s video was the second so-called confession by a British detainee to be aired by Al Alam this week.