During a press conference President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held in Tehran this morning, he announced that even though Iran has the legal right to try the hostages, he has decided to pardon them in honor of the birthday of the prophet.
According to translation, Ahmadinejad says "After our meeting they will go to the airport and be with their families."
We are also seeing evidence of the diplomatic strides behind the scenes. Concerns are already coming to the surface that Britain has capitulated in apologizing for going to the UN. Other concessions that appear to have been made are the release of an Iranian diplomat being held in Iraq as well as allowing Iranian personnel to meet with the five Iranian men taken by U.S. forces in Irbil.
Is this capitulating or is it a testament to effective diplomacy?
We are awaiting some footage of hostages at the Iranian airport as proof that they are on their way home. I join a collective sigh of relief at their release.
It seems the 15 sailors held hostage in Iran for 13 days will be turned over to the British Embassy in Tehran and travel home tomorrow (Thurday).
In a celebratory atmosphere, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shared smiles and goodbyes with the nearly released Britons.
An interesting side-note is that Syria, while hosting a visit with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, claims a key role in the release. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told reporters that his country had "exercised a sort of quiet diplomacy to solve this problem."
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