We didn't negotiate or confront – Blair

Here is part of the text of Tony Blair's statement following the announcement that the 15 Britons held in Iran are to be released:

Here is part of the text of Tony Blair's statement following the announcement that the 15 Britons held in Iran are to be released:

"I'm glad that our 15 service personnel have been released.

"I know their release will come as a profound relief not just to them but to their families that have endured such distress and anxiety over these past 12 days.

"Throughout we have taken a measured approach, firm but calm, not negotiating but not confronting either.

"I would like to thank our allies in Europe, our allies in the United Nations Security Council for their support and also our friends and allies in the region who played their part.

"We're grateful to all of them as we are to the officials in the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence and here in Downing Street for the work that they have done.

"And to the Iranian people I would simply say this: We bear you no ill will, on the contrary we respect Iran as an ancient civilisation as a nation with a proud and dignified history. And the disagreements that we have with your government we wish to resolve peacefully through dialogue."

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