Fifteen British sailors and marines seized by Iranian naval forces have been taken to Tehran for questioning as a diplomatic dispute between Iran and the West intensified Saturday.
The Iranian Fars news agency reported that the British personnel were being asked to explain what Iran calls their "aggressive" trespass into Iranian territorial waters on Friday. The agency quoted a senior Iranian military official, Alireza Afshar, as saying that the British service members had "confessed" and that if the United States and its allies invaded Iran, they would "not be able to control the dimensions and period of the war."
British officials insist that the sailors and marines, on two small patrol boats, were in Iraqi waters in the Persian Gulf conducting a routine patrol under a U.N. mandate. British officials said the eight sailors and seven marines had just completed an inspection of a merchant ship when they were surrounded by Iranian vessels and captured near Shatt al Arab, a waterway between Iraq and Iran that has long been a source of territorial disputes.
It is a sad commentary on my trust of the mainstream media's tendency towards White House stenography that "Gulf of Tonkin" was the first thing that came to my mind when hearing this story. I've held off doing a post, waiting to see what news would come out, and sure enough, the right wing blogs (I won't link to them, because I don't want to give them the hits) are beating their war drums.
Glenn Greenwald goes into more detail.