(2007-04-04) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today declared 15 British sailors and marines, held hostage since March 23, to be “forgiven for their trespasses in the spirit of Easter.”

“If Jesus Christ could forgive those who nailed him to the cross,” said Mr. Ahmadinejad, “I can show mercy by granting pardon to these transgressors during the week we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Messiah.”

A spokesman for the Iranian leader played down rumors that Mr. Ahamdinejad may be the second coming of the Christ.

“He’s just a simple, gracious, wise and merciful leader,” said the unnamed spokesman. “and while the parallels between him and the Savior of the world are undeniable, Mr. Ahmadinejad is too humble to make such claims for himself.” — Hat Tip: Scott Ott