No more negotiations with Iran over kidnapping, extortion
Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that Britain would not negotiate over British sailors and marines held hostage by Iran. In an interview with ITV News, Blair again called for the unconditional return of the 15 Royal Navy personnel who were seized by Iranian authorities last week.It is hard to see why Iran should be given any benefit of the doubt at the UN. Iran has clearly breached the Geneva Conventions and out of its own mouth initially confessed to kidnapping the Brits in Iraqi waters. They here is her history of taking hostages to advance her policies. Why would the Russians give them any benefit of the doubt after all the bad faith they have shown on the nuclear matters. It makes no sense.
"The important thing for us is to get them back safe and sound, but we can't enter into some basis of bargaining," Blair said. "What you have to do when you are engaged with people like the Iranian regime, you have to keep explaining to them, very patiently, what it is necessary to do and at the same time make them fully aware there are further measures that will be taken if they're not prepared to be reasonable.
"What you can't do is end up negotiating over hostages; end up saying there's some quid pro quo or tit for tat; that's not acceptable," he said.
Britain took its case to free its 15 sailors and marines held by Iran to the United Nations on Thursday, asking the Security Council to support a statement that would "deplore" Tehran's action and demand their immediate release.
But Security Council diplomats said the brief press statement circulated by Britain's U.N. Mission is likely to face problems from Russia and others because it says the Britons were "operating in Iraqi waters"—a point that Iran contests.