In a development that seems intended to up the stakes, Independent Television News reports that the 15 British sailors and marines detained by Iran Revolutionary Guards have been transferred to Tehran.
The British military personnel were reportedly transferred to the Iranian capital around midday local time on Saturday.
Although British diplomats are demanding the release of the fourteen men and one woman, Iranian authorities insist that they were guilty of “illegal entry” into Iran’s territorial waters.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said their actions were “dubious and illustrative of unusual objectives.”
Coming at the same time as the UN Security Council ponders tightening sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, there has been speculation that the captured Britons may be used as bargaining chips.
Various sources have reported that the sailors and marines may have been siezed in a deliberate ambush on the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, in an effort to use them as hostages in the increasingly tense stand-off between the West and Iran over its nuclear programme.