Hostage update: Blair threatens to bring out the big gun -- a UN resolution; Update: Iran airs footage of sailors' arrests; Update: New hostage letter calls for withdrawal from Iraq; Update: Video staged?

My, things certainly are getting tense now. Yawn.

Britain said Thursday it is seeking United Nations condemnation of Iran for its capture and detention of 15 sailors and marines in disputed waters in the northern Persian Gulf…

Before telling The Associated Press said it was seeking condemnation of Iran, Britain said it had asked the Security Council on Thursday to support a call for the immediate release of the detainees…

The issue was expected to be debated Thursday at the United Nations.

Negotiator Ali Larijani said on Iranian state radio that: “British leaders have miscalculated this issue.”

If Britain follows through with its policies toward Iran, Larijani said “this case may face a legal path” — a clear reference to Iran’s prosecuting the sailors in court.

There was a report of some total awesomeness outside the Iranian consulate in Basra earlier today, but it looks like it’s less a case of Blair showing some stones than Iran trying to gin up a provocation where none exists. They’ve also reneged on their promise to release the woman sailor because, and I quote, Britain is making too much of “a fuss” about it by freezing diplomatic relations. Lest they be seen as unreasonable, though, they’re going to let British diplomats in to meet with her and the other 14.

We’re still not sure what led them to kidnap the sailors, but here’s another point in favor of the “revenge for Irbil” theory:

Iran may not send a delegation to a key meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, tentatively planned for next month, unless six Iranians detained by the United States in Iraq are released, a senior Iranian official said yesterday…

[F]ive are members of Iran’s elite al-Quds Brigade who were detained during a U.S. raid on an Iranian diplomatic office in the Kurdish city of Irbil in January. The United States alleged that they were “suspected of being closely tied” to attacks on U.S. forces. Computers, cellphones and other equipment seized there have produced intelligence on Iranian operations in Iraq, U.S. officials said.

They’ve got a dog and pony show going on outside the Iranian foreign ministry too. Here’s a taste — in English, natch, for easier digestion by its target audience. This one’s slicker, although the bearer’s unibrow isn’t nearly as impressive as the other guy’s.

Update: Mark Steyn on the impotence of great powers. I like the way Newt is thinking.

Update: They’re taunting Blair now: according to Sky News, new video of the sailors’ seizure by the Iranian navy is being broadcast. Keep your eye on that link for updates.

Update: Sky’s got the vid. Is this a reenactment or do Iranian sailors usually carry video cameras with them? Or did they carry it with them this time because the operation was planned?

Click the image to watch.


Update: That sure looks like Faye Turney, the woman sailor. Safe to say it’s not a reenactment.


Update: Blair says he won’t “negotiate,” he’ll just keep talking to them incessantly.

“What you have to do when you are engaged with people like the Iranian regime, you have to keep explaining to them, very patiently, what it is necessary to do and at the same time make them fully aware there are further measures that will be taken if they’re not prepared to be reasonable.

“What you can’t do is end up negotiating over hostages; end up saying there’s some quid pro quo or tit for tat; that’s not acceptable,” he said.

The article also claims that Sky News is reporting a second letter written by Turney calls for withdrawal from Iraq, but I can’t find that anywhere yet.

Update: Here we go. Do they really have no idea how the west will receive the idea of a woman being held captive and coerced into propagandizing for a terrorist power?

Iran has published another letter allegedly written by Leading Seaman Faye Turney in which she supposedly calls for British forces to withdraw from Iraq.

The letter also asks the British Government why it allowed the British captives to stray into Iranian waters.

And it goes on to say the group is being treated well by the Iranians.

Update: Verum Serum makes the case that the video is staged.