Iran to Air Purported Confessions From Troops

Iran's official Arabic-language satellite television channel said Sunday it planned to air "confessions" from two of the 15 British sailors captured by Iran 10 days ago.

Al-Alam TV said it would broadcast excerpts of what it said were "confessions." It did not say specifically when it would be aired or name which sailors would appear.

The government-run station broadcast video of the crew last week, including footage of a captured marine apologizing for entering Iranian waters "without permission."

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The British sailors and marines were detained by Iranian naval units March 23 while patrolling for smugglers as part of a U.N.-mandated force patrolling the Persian Gulf. Iran insists the sailors had trespassed into its waters, but Britain says the team was in Iraqi waters.

The video announcement came as the British government said it was in direct contact with Iran over the captive crew and as hundreds of Islamist, hard-line Iranian students protested outside the British Embassy in Tehran.

The students threw rocks and firecrackers at the British Embassy on Sunday, calling for the expulsion of the country's ambassador. Several dozen policemen prevented the protesters from entering the embassy compound, although a few briefly scaled a fence outside the facility's walls before being pushed back, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

Meanwhile, British Defense Secretary Des Browne said his government was in "direct, bilateral communication with the Iranians." A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said Browne was referring to letters and other contacts between diplomats, rather than any new face-to-face talks.

Browne, on a visit to Afghanistan, said Britain had "the support of almost the whole international community" in calling for the release of its personnel.