Georgia's Labor Party has claimed that its leader, Shalva Natelashvili, played a role in resolving the crisis involving 15 British marines held by Iran.
A Labor Party spokesman said Natelashvili met with officials from the Iranian Embassy in Tbilisi on April 4 and requested that they release the Royal Marines, who had been captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard navy in the Persian Gulf on March 23.
“Our leader, Shalva Natelashvili, asked the Iranian side to release them based on the fact that British servicemen had admitted entering Iranian territorial waters. Shortly after this appeal, at 18:00 [Tbilisi time], news broke that the marines had been released. The Georgian Labor Party is grateful to the Iranian leadership for this move,” Kakha Dzagania of the Labor Party said at a news conference on April 5.
Natelashvili is known for his outspoken criticism of President Saakashvili’s administration. Recently he lashed out at the authorities’ plans to send troops to Afghanistan and additional forces to Iraq.