British officials are examining remarks made by Iran's Supreme National Security Council (ISNSC) with the hope of a quick ending to the dispute over 15 captured Royal Navy personnel.
Ali Larijani, the secretary of ISNSC, told British television yesterday that Iran was willing to resolve the row without a trial.
"We are still studying Dr Larijani's remarks. There remain some differences between us, but we can confirm we share his preference for early bilateral discussions to find a diplomatic solution to this problem," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said. "We will be following up with the Iranian authorities tomorrow, given our shared desire to make early progress."
Iran attributed its softened stance to the fact that a positive shift in British diplomacy has been detected.
"It seems that Britain has shifted a little bit from its stance in the last one or two days over the undeniable facts and from some of its clamour," Iranian state television said in a commentary accompanying new video of the military personnel.