Instead they’ll just edit them into quickie montages with no audio to use as intros for clips of the sailors they’ve already shown. Like they’ve done here.

Makes you appreciate McCain’s resolve in the tiger cage that much more.

The reason they’re toning it down now is because of “positive changes” in the negotiations. The AP thinks it was the note sent from the British:

In a letter sent in response to a note from Iranian officials, Britain agreed to consider discussions about how to avoid similar disputes in the future, said the British official. Britain’s response — most of which has been kept secret — may have prompted the report Monday from Iran’s state-run radio.

Bush is playing the bad cop role to Blair’s good cop here, prompting Iran this morning to warn him to mind his own business. Is Bush the big winner politically in all this? The LA Times considers the horrifying possibility:

Whatever Ahmadinejad’s motives, this much is certain: Iran’s actions give credence to hard-liners in the U.S. who view Iran as a rogue state headed by a Holocaust denier who supports terrorism and flouts international norms, whether nuclear or maritime.

None of which was in doubt before the sailors were seized, mind you. That’s like saying that 9/11 “gave credence” to the “view” that Al Qaeda is a terrorist group whose leader wants to wage jihad on the U.S. It’s simply more evidence of a fact long since proved. The debate to be had about Iran isn’t whether they’re a rogue state, it’s how best to hurt them while minimizing damage to ourselves. The California state legislature has some good ideas about that, surprisingly. What’s the Times’s plan?

And for the record, Iran isn’t “headed” by Ahmadinejad, to whom that passage obviously refers.

Exit question: Is Iran going to try to wait out the lame duck? They did it to Jimmy Carter, after all. The idea, I guess, would be to gift Gordon Brown with the 15 sailors when he enters office as a way of warning him that bad things happen when you side with the U.S. From what I know about Brown, he won’t need much warning.

Update: This is good news, I guess, until we find out just what it is Blair promised them in return.