Iran may still be smarting over the nuclear deal reached last year with the United States. On Tuesday, the Middle Eastern country seized two U.S. Navy boats (and the sailors aboard those vessels) for detainment on Farsi Island within the Persian Gulf. Ten sailors aboard those boats were on a routine training mission when one vessel may have drifted into waters claimed by Iran, whose coast guard immediately took the ships into custody.
The incident occurred as President Obama prepares for his final State of the Union speech, and he may address the matter during the evening’s procedures. At present, the White House has confirmed with Iran that the sailors are alive and well, and Secretary of State John Kerry is monitoring the situation. Iran accused the sailors of “snooping,” and The Washington Post has more details on the developing situation:
Two U.S. naval craft were en route from Kuwait to Bahrain when they disappeared from the Navy’s scopes. The incident marks the latest run-in between Iranian and U.S. crews. In late December, Iranian gunboats fired unguided missiles almost 1,000 yards away from the aircraft carrier the USS Harry S. Truman.
A senior administration official said that, following communications between Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, the State Department believed the situation had been resolved and that release of the sailors was expected “in the next few hours.”
This situation does not bode well for already strained relations between the U.S. and Iran, and Obama’s political foes are making their opinions known. Jeb Bush used the incident to fire a shot at “Obama’s humiliatingly weak Iran policy.”
Marco Rubio spoke with Fox News to demand the soldiers be released “immediately.” Rubio also said Iran is “testing the boundaries of our resolve.”
UPDATE: The Pentagon says Iran plans to release the sailors on Wednesday morning.
(Via Washington Post)