"I hope we manage to get [Iran] to realise they have to release them," Mr Blair said today in an interview with GMTV. "If not, then this will move into a different phase."
The Prime Minister spoke as the US navy began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack manoeuvres off the coast of Iran.
Asked about what he meant by a "different phase", Mr Blair said: "Well, we will just have to see, but what they should understand is that we cannot have a situation where our servicemen and women are seized when actually they are in Iraqi waters under a UN mandate, patrolling perfectly rightly and in accordance with that mandate, and then effectively captured and taken to Iran."
I remain unconvinced that this will get the Iranians to stand up and pay attention – let alone blink. It might have worked the first time in 2004, but in 2007 for the second time – no. Political chicken is all about street creds. The Brits had it once but it’s long gone. The only way the Brits will get theirs back is by doing what gave them creditability in the first place. Tony Blair needs to think what would Maggie do.