Britain Iran Hopeful For Diplomatic Solution

April 3, 2007

Both Britain and Iran appear hopeful to peacefully resolve the conflict over British sailors and marines being held in Iran.

Newly released photos show captured British forces relaxed and smiling. As Iran's chief negotiator said putting the troops on trial for trespassing wouldn't be necessary.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair described the next 48 hours as critical, with a two-prong approach, one with peaceful negotiation.

"The other is to make it clear that if that's not possible then we have to take an increasingly tougher position" said Blair.

As the crisis drags on many in London are wondering just when that tougher position might come. But Britain's not alone in turning down the heat. Fiery Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been notably sidelined from the standoff.

"I think the Iranian leadership has decided to keep Ahmadinejad out of this issue so he does not inflame the situation" said one Iranian analyst.

After close to two weeks of diplomatic dogfights, how can both sides now get out of it and save face?

"I think the main way forward is to admit the boundary is disputed and no one knows exactly where the boundary is and just put this all down to a muddle in which nobody was acting in bad faith" said Craig Murray, former foreign office diplomat.

With Iran saying diplomacy is the way forward, Britain saying the door is open, with hope from both sides the dispute may soon be over.

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