UK softens stance on Iran

TEHRAN - Iranian television showed fresh footage yesterday of the 15 detained British naval personnel.

TEHRAN - Iranian television showed fresh footage yesterday of the 15 detained British naval personnel.

The report said they had all admitted to entering Iran illegally, and Tehran saw a shift in British policy that could help resolve the standoff.

Talk of a shift in Britain's approach, which has so far been heavily criticised by Iran, marks a softening in Tehran's tone in the crisis that has heightened tensions that already surround Iran's nuclear standoff with the West and has pushed up oil prices.

Iran had earlier aired "confessions" of four of the sailors and marines, footage condemned by Britain, which says they were in Iraqi waters when they were seized on March 23.

The new images showed other members of the group talking to the camera, but their voices could not be heard.

It also showed two men in blue uniforms speaking to the camera. Another image showed three people in khaki uniforms sitting in a line and talking in front of a map. Another image showed a man in uniform, apparently laughing.

The report said: "It seems that Britain has shifted a little bit from its stance in the last one or two days over the undeniable facts and from some of its clamour.

"If this path continues, one can hope that the issue would be resolved in a bilateral process and far away from fuss and clamour and while achieving Iran's logical demands."

Britain's ambassador to Tehran, Geoffrey Adams, has met Iranian foreign ministry officials most days since the naval personnel crisis started. - Reuters

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