Hopes rise that Britons will be freed

  1. The sudden release of an Iranian diplomat missing for two months in Iraq raised new hope Tuesday that 15 British sailors and marines seized by Iran may soon be freed. It also suggests the standoff over the captive Britons may end with a de facto prisoner swap-something both Tehran and London have publicly discounted.

    Diplomat Jalal Sharafi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday, hours after he was freed by his captors in Iraq, officials said. He was seized Feb. 4 by uniformed gunmen in Karradah, a Shiite-controlled district of Baghdad.

    Iran alleged the diplomat had been abducted by an Iraqi military unit commanded by U.S. forces-a charge repeated by several Iraqi Shiite lawmakers. U.S. authorities denied any role in his disappearance....

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  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis
    Exclusive Report: How a bid to kidnap Iranian security officials sparked a diplomatic crisis

    Published: 03 April 2007
    A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.
    Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-born US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds.
    In reality the US attack had a far more ambitious objective, The Independent has learned. The aim of the raid, launched without informing the Kurdish authorities, was to seize two men at the very heart of the Iranian security establishment....