UK minister regrets Iran fiasco

Browne accepts responsibility for letting freed sailors sell their stories.

    The freed service members have been accused of behaving "like reality TV stars" [EPA]

    "A note indicating the decision and the analysis of the regulations that supported that decision came into my office on Thursday, and early on Friday afternoon one of my officials took me through that," he said. 
     
    The British government was criticised after the navy gave permission to the 14 men and one woman seized by Iran in the northern Gulf last month to sell their stories to the media.
     
    Browne reversed the decision on Monday, banning further payments.
     
    But stories from two of the personnel had already been published. Faye Turney, the woman captive, is thought to have earned about $200,000.
     
    Turney and Arthur Batchelor, the youngest of those held captive and who also sold his story, have been accused of behaving "like reality TV stars".
     
    The government's opponents said the decision to allow the naval personnel to profit from the 13 days they were held by Iran was a propaganda disaster and has embarrassed serving troops.
     
    David Cameron, the leader of the UK's opposition Conservative party, called for an inquiry into how the decision was taken, saying: "This was a dreadful decision. And it is of a piece with what we get from this government so often.
     
    "They put tomorrow's headlines ahead of concerns about the long-term damage they might do."
     
    On Tuesday an Iranian military official called the decision to allow the stories to be sold a "scandal" for the British military.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.