Iran hostages to be freed

FIFTEEN British service personnel held by Iran are to be freed, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinehjad said today.

FIFTEEN British service personnel held by Iran are to be freed, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today.

He said they would be taken immediately to Tehran Airport and called their release “a gift” to Britain to mark the birthday of Islam's Prophet Mohammed and Easter.

Downing Street has issued a statement saying: “We welcome what the president has said about the release of our 15 personnel.

“We are now establishing exactly what that means in terms of the method and timing of their release.”

Mr Ahmadinejad's announcement came during a long news conference in Tehran, during which he also theatrically decorated the coastguards he said had captured the sailors and marines.

Mr Ahmadinejad homed in on the plight of Leading Seaman Faye Turney, the only female captive, questioning why such a difficult job had been given to a mother.

Most Read

He said: “Why is there no respect for motherhood, affection?”

The news conference was being watched both in Whitehall and by the families of the sailors and marines in their homes.

They were captured after boarding an Indian merchantman in what the UK has insisted were Iraqi territorial waters 13 days ago.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter