*UPDATE* 1/13 11:45am PST
The Guardian reports the 10 U.S. sailors have been released from their brief detainment, despite speculation Revolutionary Guards might use the incident to derail improving relations between Tehran and west.
“We decided to release them after conducting a technical investigation and consultations with our national security officials, and also after establishing that their trespassing into the waters of the Islamic Republic was unintentional and also receiving apology from them,” read the statement published on the Fars news agency, which is affiliated to the Guards.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon said: “Ten US navy sailors safely returned to US custody today, after departing Iran. There are no indications that the sailors were harmed during their brief detention.”
Original story below
It was only a matter of time before Iran was in the news again, and for all the wrong reasons.
Back in October, Iran test-launched a medium range missile that was deemed sufficient enough to carry a nuclear warhead. Now, Iran has seized members of the United States Navy.
According to a senior defense official, Iran captured two small U.S. Navy riverine vessels and are holding 10 U.S. sailors in custody. Both U.S. vessels were traveling from Kuwait to Bahrain when they ran into Iranian military ships.
Iranian military forces are holding the boats – and apparently the crew as well – on the island of Farsi. The sailors were on a training mission when one of them began experiencing mechanical problems and lost contact with the Navy. They may have drifted into Iranian waters before being seized during what a Tehran news agency alleged was “snooping.”
The U.S. government, in the form of Secretary of State John Kerry, is “in touch with Iranian authorities on this issue.”
If anything, this event should not come as a surprise to the world.
Iran’s recent actions that have ruffled the feathers of the international community include: seizing ships flying the U.S. flag, testing ballistic missiles in blatant defiance of international sanctions, and most recently, conducting live-fire exercises under a mile away from a U.S. and French aircraft carrier.
Jake Tapper of CNN interviewed White House press secretary Josh Earnest about the current situation in the Persian Gulf. Tapper pressed Earnest about the White House’s response to the Iranian seizure of U.S. personnel and boats.
Tapper pressed the issue by stating, “In a few days they are scheduled to have the relief of all those sanctions. The basic question being: this does not seem like a country that is ready to be welcomed back to the community of nations.”
Earnest pointed out that the sanctions that are expiring were imposed over their nuclear program. However, it seems that by attempting to disconnect Iran’s current actions with the actions that first brought about these sanctions appears to be calculated.
During President Obama’s last State of the Union address, he didn’t even once mention the ten American sailors held in Iran’s captivity, although he was informed of the situation hours before the speech.
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