Questions are being asked about the return of the fifteen British sailors and marines recently released by their Iranian hostage takers. The fifteen, have all grown beards, developed an olive complexion, shrunk by several inches and converted to Islam.
"The just seem to have changed somehow", Admiral Benbow, the British navy chief whose warship failed to spot the six Iranian vessels that captured them, said. He emphatically denied that the fifteen were impostors, saying "We asked each one whether he or she was really an Iranian, and, once the question was translated into Arabic, each replied in perfect English the word "No".
Admiral Benbow admitted initial suspicion about the fact that all fifteen were men, whereas he was sure that one of the kidnappees was a woman. However, he said that Britain accepted Iranian assurances that a woman and mother could not have served aboard a UK vessel.
"I am heartened by the fact that the fifteen have all expressed a wish to join naval intelligence and get access to military secrets. They clearly want to get on with their careers."
US officials have expressed concern at the ease with which the fifteen were captured.
However, Admiral Benbow dismissed any criticism, insisting that there was no way that his vessel could have spotted the six armed Iranian vessels. "We were facing the wrong direction at the time."