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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 June, 2004, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Wife's joy at marine's release
Paula Harkins
Mrs Harkins said she was "over the moon" at the release
The wife of one of the eight British servicemen freed after being held in Iran spoke of her joy at his release.

Paula Harkins's husband, Tam, and his colleagues were seized on Monday in the Shatt al-Arab waterway, where they were training Iraqi river patrols.

Mrs Harkins, from Poole, Dorset, told the BBC that she was "over the moon" on hearing of his release on Thursday.

The six Royal Marines and two sailors have now been taken to the British embassy compound in Tehran.

Mrs Harkins, 32, of Hamworthy, said: "I'm just so glad it's all over."

Family devastated

She described how difficult to cope it had been since her 36-year-old husband was arrested in Iran and paraded blindfolded on television.

British sailors held in Iran (picture from Iranian satellite television)

Royal Marine Sergeant Harkins was allowed to say a message to his wife.

Mrs Harkins said: "It was just devastating.

"I watched it and I felt sorry for him. I could see he was exhausted.

"He seemed as if he was going to break down," she told the BBC.

"All the waiting and not knowing and the reports that they were in an undisclosed location and hardliners were not willing to give them up - you cannot imagine how it felt."

British officials have said that the men may have mistakenly strayed over the maritime border.

They were finally released at 0830 BST on Thursday and arrived in Tehran about 90 minutes later.

Their release follows three days of talks between British diplomats and Iranian officials.



The BBC's Jim Muir
"Negotiations have succeeded in breaking the deadlock"

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
"I am obviously very pleased that they now are in British care"

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Country profile: Iran
15 Jan 04  |  Country profiles

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