Freedom: British Sailors flying home from Iran

Daily Mail News

5 April 2007

The British hostages drank champagne in business class as they flew home today.

Still wearing the suits provided by the Iranians and carrying gifts from the president, the 15 marines and sailors were driven into Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport in a fleet of official cars.

They were kept in the VIP presidential suite at the airport before catching a British Airways Airbus to Heathrow.

From there, the Navy personnel held captive for 13 days will be flown to RAF Chivenor in Devon to be reunited with their families in time for Easter.

First Sea Lord Admiral Jonathon Band is expected to speak to the crews who will then undergo debriefings which could last two or three days.

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday that he was pardoning the Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines as "a gift to the British people”.

They were seized at gunpoint by Revolutionary Guards while on patrol in the Shatt al Arab waterway which separates Iran and Iraq.

There was anger that several of them were paraded on Iranian TV apparently making "confessions” that they had strayed into Iranian waters.