The Jerusalem Post reports that the 15 British Naval personnel were specifically taken by Iran to use as hostages to trade for the release of members of Iranian Intelligence captured by the US at Irbil.
An Iranian military official said Saturday afternoon that the 15 detained British sailors “confessed” to illegally entering Iranian waters.
The sailors, taken at gunpoint Friday by Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Al Quds soldiers were captured intentionally and are to be used as bargaining chips to be used for the release of five Iranians who were arrested at the Iranian consul in Irbil, Iraq by US troops, an Iranian official told the daily paper Asharq al-Awsat on Saturday.
In addition, a senior Iranian military official said Saturday that the decision to capture the soldiers was made during a March 18 emergency meeting of the High Council for Security following a report by the Al-Quds contingent commander, Kassem Suleimani, to the Iranian chief of the armed forces, Maj.Gen. Hassan Firouz Abadi. In the report, according to Asharq al-Awsat, Suleimani warned Abadi that Al Quds and Revolutionary Guards’ operations had become transparent to US and British intelligence following the arrest of a senior Al Quds officer and four of his deputies in Irbil.
According to the official, Iran was worried that its detained people would leak sensitive intelligence information.
Foreign embassies in Teheran are preparing for emergency evacuations.
So, the interesting question becomes will Britain and the US bow to the mullahs and make a hostage exchange, or will the domestically-embattled Western leaders confront Iran in earnest?