Ahmadinejad announced this at a news conference just minutes ago. He says that the hostages will be sent to the airport after the news conference. Additionally, there doesn't appear to be any requirement by Britain to publicly admit wrongdoing, which is important since the sailors and marines didn't do anything wrong. Right now it appears that Iran has gotten away with kidnapping people from Iraqi waters without any real repercussions.
I'll update as new information comes in.
Update: This is classic. Ahmadinejad said in the news conference that he is willing to establish ties with the US if the Bush Administration changes its behavior. This guy is living in an alternate universe.
Update II: Fox reports that the sailors and marines will be released to the British Embassy in Tehran.
Update III: Positive effects already: the price of oil is dropping upon the announcement that the hostages will be released.
Update IV: The White House announced that it is monitoring the situation, which means that it's going to sit back and wait to see if the sailors and marines are actually released.
Update V: The $65,000 question: what went on in the negotiations between Iran and Britain that led to this announcement?
Update VI: Anti-war commenters at Think Progress are already buying Ahmadinejad's PR campaign:
Isn't it amazing what diplomacy and talking can accomplish?? Too bad the Chimp didn't learn to use his brain instead of his mouth to deal with issues. Oh, wait, silly me. How can someone sans brain use a brain to fix problems? Well, at least the British government still knows how to operate in a civilized manner.
How many days until January 20, 2009?
Comment by Ben Dover -- April 4, 2007 @ 9:29 am
Look who is being the resonable ones, despite not knowing what happened to their captured soldiers. (Secret prison anyone)
Comment by Bluedahlia -- April 4, 2007 @ 9:48 am
As for releasing them, well, it's interesting. I think it shows that Iran is more willing to act humanely than Bush's four-year illegal captivity and torture of people still held at Guantanamo Bay despite no charges set against them, repeat violations of teh Geneva Convention, and no habeus corpus for those held there. This act makes Bush look even worse to the International Community than he already does.
Impeachment is the least we can do.
Comment by unbelievable -- April 4, 2007 @ 9:46 am
Amazing what happens when you actually TALK to the enemy rather than put them in the corner or drop bombs on them, huh?
Comment by Fred -- April 4, 2007 @ 9:46 am
Update VII: Hot Air has the video of the press conference.
Update VIII: Sky News has live video of Ahmadinejad "sending off" the British hostages to the British Embassy. There he is smiling as, it appears, he speaks to each hostage individually. From what Fox reports, this was a staged event with the hostages given statements to make for the cameras: you were very kind to us, thank you for your kindness, yada yada yada.
Update IX: I highly recommend reading Anchoress's post "The Wonderland of Ahmadenijad and his despot friends." She writes, in part:
It certainly seems like we are in danger of completely losing touch with our gut instincts, with our abilities to define what is authentic and what is illusory. And that's true on every level. We're lately unable to cleanly identify authenticity in the realm of politics, in education, medicine, economics, social mores, spirituality, the environment, community...it almost feels like the world is giving up and saying, "screw this, it's all too complicated and treacherous out there. I'm watching Law and Order, and if the press wants me to believe that Nancy Pelosi freed these marines, then dammit, I'll believe it! If Rosie wants me to believe that steel does not melt at temperatures above 2500 degrees (as I was taught many moons ago) then fine, I'll believe it! Anything, I'll believe anything, just stop browbeating me, please! I promise, I'll stop thinking! What time is wrestling on?"