Says Bolton: “I think they were testing British resolve in response to this provocative act and I think they already had their answer, which was that the British are not going to respond in a strong fashion.”
“Iran accused of ‘hostage’ diplomacy,” from Australia’s ABC News Online, with thanks to JE:
The US State Department has accused Iran of using hostage diplomacy following the release of 15 British sailors and marines.
The former captives, who were seized along with their patrol boats in the northern Gulf on March 23, have now returned to the UK after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he had decided to free them.
With the Britons safely home, the Bush administration has lashed out at Iran, with State Department spokesman Sean McCormack calling the Iranian Government a regime that “views hostage-taking as a tool of international diplomacy”.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says the British personnel did nothing wrong.
“I think it’s clear the British sailors were well inside Iraqi waters when they were seized,” he said.
And Mr Gates rejected speculation that America intended to release five Iranians being held in Iraq as part of a deal to free the Britons….
Meanwhile former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said the crisis had ended in a “double victory” for the Iranians.
“In a way I think the regime in Tehran has won a double victory,” Mr Bolton said on the US-funded Alhurra Arabic-language television network.
“They won a victory when they captured the hostages and they won a victory when they released the hostages.
“I think they were testing British resolve in response to this provocative act and I think they already had their answer, which was that the British are not going to respond in a strong fashion.”