Iran airs new video of British captives

Iran's official Arabic language television channel aired video clips Sunday showing what it said were two of the 15 captured British sailors, admitting they entered Iranian waters.

Tehran protesters stone British Embassy

Iran's official Arabic language television channel aired video clips Sunday showing what it said were two of the 15 captured British sailors, admitting they had entered Iranian waters.

Al-Alam TV showedthe two sailorspointing to a map of the Persian Gulf where their boat allegedly crossed into Iranian waters on March 23, leading to their capture. Britain says the crew was seized in Iraqi waters.

The first sailor, who was identified as Royal Marine Capt. Chris Air, pointed with a pen to a location on the map where he said two boats left a warship of the U.S-led coalition in Iraq about 8:30 a.m. on March 23. He said the seven marines and eight navy sailors were captured about 10 a.m.

"We were seized apparently at this point here on their maps and on the GPS they've shown us, which is inside Iranian territorial waters," he said, pointing to the map.

"And so far we have been treated very well by all the people here. They have looked after us."

In another development, British Defence Secretary Des Browne said his government was in "direct, bilateral communication with the Iranians."

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said Browne had been referring to letters and other contacts between diplomats, rather than any new face-to-face talks.

Earlier on Sunday, about 200 students threw rocksand firecrackers at the British Embassy in Tehran, calling for the expulsion of the country's ambassador over the matter.

Police prevented any of the protesters from entering the embassy compound, although a few briefly scaled a fence outside the building's walls before being pushed back, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

A media report that they also threw gasolinebombs could not be confirmed.

Witnesses quoted byReutersreported seeing small plumes of smoke outside the embassy, apparently from small, home-made explosives.

The protesters chanted "Den of spies" and called for the British ambassador's expulsion.

Britain's Foreign Office said there had been no damage to the compound.

"There is a demonstration taking place at the embassy," a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said in London, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government rules. "No damage has been done to the embassy."

The countriesare at a standoff over the 15British sailors and marines who were seized on March 23. Britain said they were in Iraqi waters when they were captured, but Iran has contended theyentered its waters illegally.

Demands for apology

On Saturday, IranianPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that British "arrogance" is prolonging the diplomatic crisis and suggested Britain adopt amore conciliatory attitude.

"The occupying British forces entered our waters, and our border guards, with courage and alertness, arrested them. But instead of apologizing to the Iranian nation, the arrogant play the martyr," he said.

"The arrogant powers in the world are issuing statements and delivering speeches instead of offering their apologies and expressing their mea culpa," Ahmadinejad was quoted by media reports as saying.

On the same day, U.S. President George W. Bush, speaking publicly for the first time about the detention of the British service members,denounced the seizure as "inexcusable behaviour" and demanded that the "hostages" be released.

"They're innocent, they did nothing wrong, and they were summarily plucked out of waters," he said during aconference with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.

Former ambassador urges resolution

Ken Taylor,whowas Canada's ambassador to Iran when demonstrators seized American embassy staff three decades ago, told CBC on Sunday there's no reason this standoff shouldn't end quickly.

"This is in no one's interest. It's not in Britain's interests. It's not in the Iranian interest. It's not in the UN interest," he said.

"This is something that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.There are some big comprehensive issues to deal with [in] respect to Iran and this is a distraction.

"You have to have some empathy for those held, but it isn't really a significant matter between Britain and Iran, or more broadly, between the coalition, the other countries surrounding Iran and Iran's future intentions with respect to its mutual defence and security."

With files from the Associated Press