Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iran Wednesday for releasing ten apprehended U.S. Navy sailors after they were paraded in front of state media.
Iranian forces took the sailors and their two riverine boats Tuesday and held them overnight. They were released Wednesday after Kerry negotiated their release with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif. While the sailors were still being held, Iranian media recorded one sailor apologizing for entering Iranian waters and published a video of the crews being captured. (RELATED: Will The Pentagon Pursue Charges Against The Sailor Who Apologized To Iran?[VIDEO])
“It was a mistake; that was our fault, and we apologize for our mistake,” said the sailor to Iranian media, “my navigation system showed I was in Iranian waters but I made a mistake and entered.”
A second video released by Iranian media appears to show the initial capture of the sailors on their knees with their hands in the air.
People who ask what we'd do if ships stray into our waters: Ask yourselves the last time you saw US arrest a ship's crew and put them on TV.
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) January 14, 2016
An Iranian commander claims that while the crisis was ongoing, Iran had missiles locked on the U.S.S. Truman aircraft carrier and threatened a “catastrophe” against U.S. forces. (RELATED: Iranian Naval Commander: We Had Missiles Locked On US Carrier During Sailor Crisis)
“We can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out three or four years ago,” said Kerry on Wednesday after thanking Iran for releasing the ten sailors.
The release came after Kerry and Zarif engaged in five phone calls discussing the issue. According to a top Kerry aide, the secretary of state said to Zarif “if we are able to do this in the right way, we can make this into what will be a good story for both of us.”
Zarif reportedly told Kerry during the phone calls that the U.S. should extend a formal apology for the incident before the sailors were released. According an Iranian Republican Guard Corps statement, the U.S. provided a formal apology, however, this claim remains unsubstantiated.
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