New Details on Iran’s Capture of US Sailors Could Result in Direct Punishment
The picture of American sailors on their knees at gunpoint, hands clasped behind their heads in surrender to Iranian troops was disturbing enough, but the assertions by President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry that the resolution of the incident was a triumph of their diplomatic skill were even worse.
Iran immediately seized upon the event to humiliate the United States, publishing the photographs in the media, airing a video of one of the sailors apologizing for encroaching, albeit innocently, in Iranian territorial waters, and mocking the Americans in the annual Islamic Revolution parade.
President Obama, concerned that the picture was being broadcast around the world in the hours just before he would be delivering his final State of the Union address and presenting his controversial nuclear deal with Iran as a benchmark achievement of his administration, thanked the Iranians for their “cooperation” in releasing the sailors.
Not content with the Obama administration’s handling of the incident, the Navy immediately initiated its own investigation into the matter, and the findings are expected to answer questions as to why the riverine boats deviated from their route and how the sailors were treated while in Iranian custody.
The seizure of the boats also gave the Iranians access to information and systems creating a security nightmare for the Navy and the U.S. government even before the controversial nuclear deal was implemented.
Two Navy commanders have already been relieved of their duties, and the upcoming report may result in more personnel facing disciplinary action.
No gunfire was exchanged during the capture of the two vessels and ten sailors, but there were reports of a “verbal exchange,” which may have aggravated the already tense situation.
The Iranian naval commanders who participated in the captures were awarded medals by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, who said they displayed “courage” and “strong faith” they displayed in bringing American sailors to their knees.
Military officials and maritime law experts have said that Iran’s violated the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, but Vice President Joe Biden said conduct by both the Iranians and the American sailors was “standard nautical practice.”