SecDef Carter Enraged At Iran’s Treatment Of US Sailors, Kerry Thankful

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated Thursday that Iran’s treatment of the 10 U.S. sailors captured earlier in January made him “very, very angry.”

For Carter, it was “really not okay,” to see Iranian state media broadcast video and images of sailors with hands on their hands at gunpoint, CNN reports. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the capture was “God’s deed.”

Carter added the United States would not have treated Iranian sailors that way, if in a similar position. The incident is even worse because according to the defense secretary, the U.S. Navy sailors did nothing wrong. The Pentagon has said that the two American vessels accidentally steered into Iranian territorial waters because of a navigational error.

Carter’s remarks completely contradict what Secretary of State John Kerry said at the time of the incident — he was very thankful to the Iranians for their good treatment of the Navy sailors and their swift return. From start to finish, the run-in lasted 16 hours.

The Obama administration, apparently, has not reached a consensus on whether to be thankful to the Iranians or absolutely enraged.

“These are always situations which … have an ability, if not properly guided, to get out of control,” Kerry said. “I also want to thank the Iranian authorities for their cooperation and quick response.”

Kerry hailed the resolution of the incident as indicative of the quality diplomatic relationship the Obama administration has established with Iran following the nuclear deal. At the time, GOP Sen. John McCain countered this sentiment and said it’s “ludicrous” to suggest the nuclear deal prompted the speedy return of the sailors.

Some legal experts even believe that Iran violated international law by arresting the sailors, as the United Nations Convention on the Law on the Sea  (UNCLOS) allows continuous and expeditious passage through territorial waters, so long as the vessels are not conducting military operations. In the event of damage, vessels have the right to stop and work on repairs. If the Iranians really objected to U.S. presence, about the most the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps could do under UNCLOS would be expel the two riverine crafts.

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