There isn't a snowsball chance of the UK or US launching a operation to rescue them, as they've probably been seperated and are being held in various unknown bases in the capital. Plus, there is no political will to issue a military ultimatum.
The Iranian's will maximise the potential from the propaganda then claim the moral victory by eventually releasing them.
Well, if that's all this is about, no big deal, eh?
Right now it's a game of diplomacy but if harm comes to the prisoners it will be telling what the response is.
Next turn of events...Iran will cut off supplies of oil to the US by gumming up the Straights of Hormuz (sp) and will sell there product over land to China, India etc. So the US if were to EVER bomb the oil supplies in Iran, it will be perceived as a strike on the world, not just Iran.
Officially touch and go...this capture has 15 lives in limbo...they certainly have been gaining good knowledge about our technology they keep kidnapping with the boats...and some day and maybe soon...don't be surprised when a British boat approaches a US vessel and we then find out that suicide rag heads made a surprise visit to our troops and they actually use our bombed vessel to clog the water ways.
The next war or terror will be on the water ways...if the terrorists can sink enough ships, in major waterways, they will have a bigger desvasting impact on the world then a war fought on land...they can control the flow of oil.
I agree. They've seen that they can get away with this, and they'll do it from time to time. I think it's aimed at boosting their regional profile, since Iran wants to be seen as the dominant player in the ME. This is part of its advertising campaign, so to speak. And it has learned that there will be no cost to Iran.
"To be honest I cannot see this escalating much further. There will probably be some humiliating mock trial/confession for the media to boost internal morale in Iran, then they will be released."
As we're chatting here the US and Britain are probably negotiating through their diplomats for the release of the intelligence agents. But I doubt they will be released w/o an arms lenght exchange.
In cases like this it is a mistake to try to rescue. Rescues are suicide missions. The correct approach is to hold the hostage taking country hostage. Start a 12 hour clock ticking... make it clear that Tehran will be a very unpleasant please when the twelve hours are up unless all of the hostages are out of Iran before the time expires. The message should be communicated privately to Iran's leaders.