· The Iranian and British officials were in contact today to resolve the crisis over the detention of 15 British navy personnel.
· The reports from Britain indicate that Iran’s National Security Council Chairman Ali Larijani is acting as the chief negotiator for Iran.
· Larijani had said in an interview yesterday that there was “no need for any trial” of the 15 captured Britons.
· British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office announced that “both sides share a desire for an early resolution of this issue.”
· World oil prices tumbled today as Iran and Britain signaled that progress had been made to end the British detainee standoff. New York’s futures contract for light sweet crude fell by $1.30 a barrel today.
· In a related matter, the Iraqi foreign ministry said today that the Iraqi government was “intensively” seeking release of five Iranians detained by the US military to help with the release of 15 British sailors and marines detained in Iran.
· US President George Bush said there would be no quid pro quos with Iran, linking the release of the 15 British detainees with that of the 5 Iranian detainees in Iraq.
· A senior Iranian diplomat at Iran’s embassy in Baghdad who was kidnapped last February was released today by his captors. Jalal Sharafi returned to Tehran this afternoon. Iran had accused a group linked to Iraqi defense ministry of being behind the kidnapping.
· Iran inaugurated a power station and a water purification plant at Bushehr’s nuclear reactor site in a sign that it is seriously pursuing to eventually finish the construction of the reactor. Russia has delayed the completion of the project and the delivery of uranium fuel needed to operate the reactor pending a resolution of Iranian nuclear standoff with the West and the UN.
· President Ahmadinejad said today that he will soon have “important news” regarding Iran’s nuclear program and its achievements.