Blair says there was no deal, and: “The general picture, as I have said before, is there are elements at least of the Iranian regime that are backing, financing, arming, terrorism in Iraq.”
From the BBC, with thanks to John:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has insisted no deal was done to free 15 Royal Navy crew members, as they arrive at Heathrow after being held in Iran.
They were released “without any deal, without any negotiation, without any side agreement of any nature” he said.
New lines of communication had opened during the 13-day crisis, which it would be “sensible” to pursue, he said.
But he said there must be no weakening of resolve on other issues, like Iran’s alleged support for terrorism in Iraq.
Speaking as the Royal Navy crew arrived back at Heathrow, Mr Blair said he rejoiced at their return.
But it had to be tempered with the “ugly reality” of the deaths of four British soldiers in Iraq, killed by “a terrorist act” in Basra.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed on Thursday that four soldiers had been killed in a roadside bomb blast targeting a Warrior patrol and a fifth was seriously injured.
Mr Blair said it was “far too early” to point to any Iranian involvement in that particular attack.
But he added: “The general picture, as I have said before, is there are elements at least of the Iranian regime that are backing, financing, arming, terrorism in Iraq.”