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....