April 10, 2007 / 3:59 PM / 12 years ago

Iran planning documentary on sailor "confessions"

In this file picture, British sailors and marines who were held by Iran pose before leaving Iran at Tehran's International Mehrabad airport, April 5, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s armed forces are preparing to release a documentary and book about the detention and “confessions” of 15 British sailors and marines held captive in Iran, a military commander said on Tuesday.

“A documentary about their arrest, interrogation and confessions ... is being prepared and soon it will hit the market,” Commander Alireza Afshar, cited as deputy for “defence propaganda”, said in a faxed statement.

Iran released the captives on Thursday, 13 days after surrounding their boats in what it said was its territory but Britain said was inside Iraqi waters.

In captivity, several of the Britons were shown on Iran’s state television saying they were sorry for entering Iranian waters illegally. Afshar’s statement did not say whether the documentary would contain any material not already shown.

The 14 servicemen and one woman said in a statement given at an official news conference after their return to England they had been blindfolded, bound, kept in isolation and threatened with up to seven years in jail.

Iran has dismissed the news conference as “propaganda”.

“Instead of thanking and welcoming the Islamic Republic for its clemency in pardoning the sailors, the childish staged theatre ... once more displayed Britain’s aggressive habit,” Afshar said.

The Ministry of Defence waived the rules this week barring serving military personnel from selling their stories to media because of huge public interest.

It revised that decision on Monday in the face of criticism, but not before several of the soldiers sold their stories. Afshar said letting the sailors profit from the situation was a “scandal” for the British army.

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