Iran General NewsBush hails release of Britons

Bush hails release of Britons

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AFP: President George W. Bush on Wednesday welcomed the release by Iran of 15 British naval personnel, captured almost two weeks ago in the Gulf. WASHINGTON, April 4, 2007 (AFP) – President George W. Bush on Wednesday welcomed the release by Iran of 15 British naval personnel, captured almost two weeks ago in the Gulf.

“As Prime Minister Blair said, President Bush also welcomes the news,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

The US administration has stayed in the background in the affair leaving British Prime Minister Tony Blair to deal with the situation, anxious not to complicate things.

But Bush did however denounce the capture of the group as “indefensible” and said he and Blair had agreed “that there should be no quid pro quos when it comes to the hostages.”

This appeared to rule out any deal with Tehran to swap the British sailors and marines for five Iranians captured by US forces in northern Iraq in January.

However, the latest developments coincided with the release in Baghdad of an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Iraq in early February. Iran had blamed US forces in the country for the abduction.

Iranian state media also said earlier Wednesday that five Iranian officials captured by US forces in northern Iraq in January and accused of seeking to stir trouble were expected to receive their first visit by an Iranian diplomat.

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