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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 April 2007, 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK
Iran officers deny media cash aim
Lt Felix Carman
Lt Carman said the people of Wales had been "absolutely incredible"
The two officers among the 15 Royal Navy personnel held captive by Iran have insisted that they do not want to profit from their stories.

Lieutenant Felix Carman, from Gower, near Swansea, said he was "not interested in making money".

Royal Marine Captain Chris Air echoed those sentiments but said fellow personnel had the right to sell.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has allowed the group to sell their stories due to the "exceptional circumstances".

Lt Carman said if he told his story it would be to thank the people of Wales for the support they gave him - and if he were offered money, it would probably go to charity.

Capt Air, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester, said the incident "didn't seem that traumatic to him" but added that, for others, selling the story might help them get things off their mind.

Some politicians and military commentators have attacked the move.

In a statement the MoD said: "Serving personnel are not allowed to enter financial arrangements with media organisations.

"However, in exceptional circumstances such as the awarding of a Victoria Cross or events such as those in recent days, permission can be granted by commanding officers and the MoD."

It has been reported that Leading Seaman Faye Turney, 26, the only woman in the party, had sold her story to a TV programme and a newspaper.

Charity

However, Lt Carman, currently on compassionate leave at his parents' home at Port Eynon, Gower, said: "I am not interested in making money out of this. My main aim is to tell the story.

"There's some people who might be making money, but that's an individual's decision, that's very private, but that's not something that myself or many of the others will do."

He said he had not "thought about money at all," adding: "I'd happily do it for free. But if there is money on offer then it would probably go to charity."

Leading Seaman Faye Turney
Faye Turney is free to sell her story

Lt Carman said he thought the MoD had lifted the ban because officials realised "somebody's going to make money out of these stories and things, so why not the people actually involved?"

He added: "I want to use this as a vehicle to thank everybody in Wales, who have been absolutely incredible."

Capt Air said: "I'm not going to speak to the papers. I think some people are going to, and they are perfectly entitled to.

"I think it can be part of the process to get things off their mind. To be honest, it didn't seem that traumatic at the time to me and I don't think it's going to affect me in a terrible way."

The Royal Marine had planned to give a series of interviews unpaid but abandoned the idea after finding that recounting his ordeal to the local newspaper was quite tiring.

Some critics have warned the service personnel may lose public sympathy by selling their stories.

Col Bob Stewart, who commanded the British peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, said the MoD was in a "Catch 22 situation" as the soldiers would be "hounded" for their stories.

But he added: "The whole matter is extremely distasteful, because while these people are making a lot of money, six bodies have come back from Iraq in the last week or so in coffins, and their families will get very little indeed.

"They are not heroes by comparison."


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"I'm not interested in making money out of it"



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