A top Iranian security official says his country sees "no need" to put 15 seized British sailors and marines on trial and that the ongoing dispute between Iran and Britain over their captivity can be resolved diplomatically.
The British government by saying that both it and Iran had a "shared desire to make early progress" in resolving the dispute.
However, Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said that in order to resolve the impasse, Britain would have to admit its military personnel had intruded into Iranian territorial waters and "guarantee this violation would not be committed again."
"We would be interested in diplomatic discussions, and, in my view, it is quite resolvable," said Larijani, who also said he believed "there should be a delegation to clarify" whether the British personnel intruded into Iranian waters.
The British government has insisted that the sailors and marines were in Iraqi waters when they were seized on March 23, and has demanded that the Iranian government let them go.
In an effort to isolate Iran diplomatically, Britain has appealed for support from both the European Union and U.N. Security Council.
In his interview with Channel 4, Larijani faulted Britain for creating a "harsh diplomatic atmosphere" that has prolonged the dispute and said the British government's "wrong attitude should be corrected."
"We are not pleased to have British citizens in our country as captives," he said. "Maybe if the UK government would have acted otherwise, we would not have had the case drag on so long."
Responding to Larijani's interview, a spokeswoman at the British foreign office said officials were still "studying" Larijani's remarks.
"There remain some differences between us, but we can confirm we share his preference for early bilateral discussion to find a diplomatic solution to this problem. We will be following up with the Iranian authorities tomorrow, given our shared desire to make early progress," the spokeswoman said.
Video footage has shown four of the British crew saying they were captured in Iranian waters. In footage aired Sunday, two of the sailors used maps to show the alleged location where they were seized. Iran has said the others have also confessed.