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Is this the background to the Iranian seizure of the Brits?

The stand-off between London and Teheran in relation to those 16 seized marines continues. George Bush has now entered into the fray with his usual useless rhetoric. Pity that he didn't reflect a little more - but then again does the White House ever see anything in rational or nuanced terms? - for The Independent today reveals what it says is the background to the seizure.

"A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.

Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-born US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds.

In reality the US attack had a far more ambitious objective, The Independent has learned. The aim of the raid, launched without informing the Kurdish authorities, was to seize two men at the very heart of the Iranian security establishment."

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