By Nick Allen and Rob Hutton

March 27 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said that efforts to release 15 British sailors and Marines seized by Iran will enter a ``different phase'' if negotiations fail.

The U.K. is using diplomatic channels to make the Iranian government understand that the eight Royal Navy sailors and seven Royal Marines ``have to be released,'' Blair said today in an interview with the U.K. television show GMTV.

``I hope we manage to get them to realize they have to release them. If not, then this will move into a different phase,'' Blair said. ``We cannot have a situation where our servicemen and women are seized.'' Asked what he meant by a different phase, Blair didn't elaborate. ``We'll just have to see,'' he said.

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