Officials deny that concessions were made to Iran for the release of the captured British sailors, but the Times speculates that there may have been a secret deal. An Iranian diplomat held in Iraq for eight weeks was freed the day before the British prisoners were. Also, American officials said yesterday that they would review a request that an envoy be allowed to visit five Iranians imprisoned after a raid in Iraq.
However the crisis was actually resolved, both countries appear to have gotten what they wanted out of the prisoners' return. Britain got its sailors back without any kind of public apology. Iran got a chance to look generous and avoid a risky escalation.