Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a surprise announcement this morning that the fifteen British sailors and marines who were kidnapped on March 23 would be released immediately.
It’s hard to know what to make of the announcement. It may reflect the outcome of a conflict between factions inside the Iranian government, or a judgment that there was no further propaganda benefit to be gained by holding the prisoners. The only sign of a quid pro quo was a separate announcement by Iran that “an Iranian envoy would be allowed to meet five Iranians detained by U.S. forces in northern Iraq.” Also, another Iranian “diplomat” captured in Iraq apparently has been released and returned to Iran.
So it looks like a reasonably happy outcome.
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