AFP: Iran is ready to “support” the 15 British sailors it captured to publish their stories after London reversed a decision allowing them to receive payments for their accounts, a top presidential advisor said. TEHRAN, April 23, 2007 (AFP) – Iran is ready to “support” the 15 British sailors it captured to publish their stories after London reversed a decision allowing them to receive payments for their accounts, a top presidential advisor said.
“Once we get assurances that the young British naval personnel will not get into trouble with their government and their military, then Iran is prepared to support them in writing and publishing their memoirs,” Ali Akbar Javanfekr was quoted as saying by state media.
We will “provide them with photos as well as cassette tapes and video cassettes on their cheerful life during their time in Iran,” said Javanfekr, the top media advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
On March 23, 15 British navy and marines were detained by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on an accusation of crossing into Iranian territorial waters.
Ahmadinejad subsequently pardoned and released them as a “gift” for the British people. While in Iran, the sailors said they were looked after well but made allegations of maltreatment on their return.
Britain’s Defence Secretary Des Browne was then forced to apologise in parliament for a decision to allow sailors to sell their stories which was rapidly replaced by a wholesale ban.
Faye Turney, the only female detainee, reportedly received around 100,000 pounds (147,000 euros, 196,000 dollars) for interviews with The Sun tabloid, and commercial broadcaster ITV.
The youngest detainee, Operator Maintainer Arthur Batchelor, sold his story to the Daily Mirror and caused embarrassment in military ranks by complaining the Iranians never returned his MP3 player.